Monday, April 22, 2013

Reality Distortion Field and iron fences

Steve Jobs was known (infamous) for his "reality distortion field".  It's said that he believed things so passionately that he could convince you of it even if you knew it was wrong.  If you suggested an idea to him he would reject it, and a few weeks later might remember it, but think he came up with it, and when he told about it, he would be convinced he came up with the idea. If you tried to argue with him, he would be so resolute and fervently convinced that it was his idea that you would eventually begin to doubt your recollection of reality.

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

Starting a Plastic Moving Boxes Business

So, it wasn't easy starting a new business.  I thought about going the franchise route and buying a territory from a company like Bungobox or Frogbox, but in the end I figured that I'd rather be a pirate than join the navy, so I set out on my own.

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

Link love

I've never cared much for search engine optimization (SEO).  I just let this site grow in popularity organically.  But as I set up a new business, I realize how important it is.  If people can't find you on Google, then you are invisible.  You may as well not even exist.  When I posted yesterday about the new business I am starting that rents plastic reusable moving boxes in DC and Florida , I did not realize that I would have to do work to get it noticed.  If you google "Plastic moving boxes DC", this blog comes up on page 2 of Google, and my Elf Boxes site is on page 9!  *9*

So, that will not do.  If any of you are reading this and want to hook a brother up, please link to my 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

Elf Boxes Plastic Moving Boxes Coming to DC

I am in the final stages of launching a new business.  It will be starting in West Palm Beach, Florida this week.  And I hope to launch it in Washington DC too.  This company will rent plastic reusable moving boxes.  These are easier to use than cardboard (no tape required, no assembly required), are stronger than cardboard moving boxes, don't fall apart in the rain, and are eco-friendly.

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  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

Eating the Elephant

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

Elvis is everywhere!

I randomly remembered this song that has such awesome lines "who built the pyramids? Elvis!" The girlfriend thought I made it up, but after a few minutes I found it and started singing it. Elvis is everywhere, baby, enjoy it!!!

Thursday, February 02, 2012

I'm an uncle!

I got the news last night that my sister in law gave birth to a baby boy. I wonder why people always specify that it was a "baby" boy. Is that really a necessary adjective? Are there a lot of people who give birth to full grown boys, such that you'd have to specify to avoid confusion?

"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

Happy Birthday Elvis: the other kind of Fight Club

Happy belated birthday to the third greatest American to ever walk the earth, Elvis Presley. In case you are wondering who the first and second greatest Americans are, they are Thomas Jefferson and Jack Lalanne, in that order. You might think this is open to debate, but it's not. Arguing about this is like arguing about the existence of gravity; it will just make you look foolish.

Here's something you didn't know about me. Some people don't work Christmas, some don't work on Thanksgiving or Easter. But me...I don't work on January 8th. Cuz' that's Elvis' birthday! Some people think I kid about how awesome Elvis is, and that I heap fake praise on him like it's some kind of performance art. But Elvis was awesome because he genuinely didn't a sh1t. The world was segregated but he played black music. He wore ridiculous outfits and ate peanut butter, banana and bacon sandwiches whenever he wanted. He had a pet monkey and if he didn't like what was on TV he would shoot it. He was a black belt in Karate back when that actually meant something. Fcuk Charlie Sheen, Elvis is the real one with Tiger Blood in his veins. In other words, Elvis was the original Honey Badger!

So I don't know what you did last weekend, but I celebrated by going to the Elvis Birthday Fight Club. As part of the show they had an Elvis Trivia contest and they asked for volunteers. I was chosen. And if you think I'm good at fixing houses, derivatives law, or jiu jitsu, that's nothing compared to how awesome I am at Elvis Trivia.

I had a worthy opponent, but I won. In fact, I smoked him! Trying to beat me at Elvis trivia is like trying to beat Rosie O'Donnell at a doughnut eating contest: not gonna happen!

Anyway, I had a great time and look forward to doing it again next year to defend my title. So who are your top 3 americans of all time?

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Tap tap tap...

Is this thing on? ("that's what SHE said!") haha, I kill me sometimes.

It doesn't feel like it's been over a year since I blogged something, but the internet doesn't lie. If you're wondering what happened, that makes one of us. At some point in a dog's life he catches the car he was chasing and wonders "now that I've got this giant squirrel by the metallic bumper...what now?" If you find that analogy confusing, you're on the right blog.
In tangentially related news, I discovered Twitter recently, which is like blogging for lazy people and like the fat guy trying to ease himself into the gym little by little, I started being a Twitterer...Tweeter? Twat? Whatever. Anyway, if you'd like to follow me, I'm at @ImproveNinja

If you follow me on there you can read some gems such as this:

Don't autocorrect me, Iphone. Yes, I meant "fisting" not "gusting". WTF is anal gusting

Or this:
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.

In the meantime, Merry Christmas everyone!

Thursday, December 16, 2010


As if to mock me, it snows. I drove to work today, so getting home should be...interesting. Growing up in NY means that I have experience driving in the snow. So I know I won't hit your car on the way home today. Please do me the courtesy of returning that favor. Kthanxbye.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

I still hate snow

I stil hate snow. It's snowed twice this month. The first time, I saw it outside the window, but it stopped before I got outside, and left no trace. If other people hadn't commented on it, I would've thought I imagined it. The second time, I didn't notice it until the morning. It covered the tops of cars lightly, but melted and disappeared into the sidewalk, leaving no trace of itself.

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

Message from the founder of BloomBars ( BloomBars is a non-profit arts center in Columbia Heights.

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:


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:

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


I've been toying with the idea of starting a new blog, since I haven't been writing much on this one as of late. Watching it sit here is like watching that once mighty TransAm or Camaro sitting on blocks in the driveway, a mere shell of its former glory.

Stay tuned...

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Capoeira Workshop on Sunday October 3, 2010

Hey All, be sure to check my friend Bomba's Capoeira Workshop at BTI Dance Institute on 14th street in downtown DC. It's on Sunday and it's a great opportunity to learn from the only Contra Mestre in Capoeira in DC!

Sunday, October 3 · 4:30pm - 6:30pm

LocationBTI Dance Institute
1515 14th St NW Suite 200 (near P St)
Washington, DC

Created By

More InfoThe 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 for more information or go to to register. Cost is $29.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Random improvements

I've been too busy and unmotivated to do anything major at the fortress, but I have been smaller projects here and there, like painting, which takes only slightly more effort than laundry, when done correctly.

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

Crappy Singer's Publicity Stunt Makes Media Waves

The stupidity of the media never ceases to amaze me. Every year when PETA decides to run some outrageous publicity stunt, it always makes it onto the news. Like their commercial that was sooooo racy that it was banned from the superbowl. No mention is ever made of how they would have come up with a bajillion dollars to air the ad if it had been accepted and aired on the most expensive advertising slot in history.

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

Earthquake smerthquake...

I don't think I've been in an earthquake before, and I've never heard of one happening in DC in the 10 years I've been here. Around 4am though, we got one. I was up since I had insomnia, which is a mixed blessing, I guess, since it would suck to have slept through that historic event. And yes, I would've slept through it because I can sleep through anything, including falling off the top of a bunk bed when I was a kid. I mean, I woke up sore in the morning, but I slept right through it (Feel free to mentally insert a "that's what she said" joke here).

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

free plug fridays

If you're going to be in town this weekend, a friend of mine is appearing in a group art show at the new Cre8 Space Gallery. It's a blues music themed art show and there will be a live performance at 8pm by blues guitarist Michael James "Blues" Baker, who is almost a thousand years old. The address is 1314 9th Street NW. (9th and M street). Click on the link above or THIS ONE for details.

Wednesday, July 07, 2010

Back to the Future

Well, it turns out that another important day in pseudo history came and went unnoticed by me and many others. It turns out that a couple of days ago was when Doc and Marty McFly went to
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

Thank you Gentrification

It's no secret that I love gentrification. As more and more trendy restaurants and stores move into Columbia Heights, I get happier and happier. The more people who want to live here, the more my house will be worth when I decide to sell it soon. If some hipster who moved here a year and a half ago thinks that this place will lose something if it starts to look like Bethesda, I will laugh and try to keep from punching him in the face. When I moved here 6 years ago, this neighborhood was not much to look at. The Giant Supermarket had just opened up, but the Target Mall was still a few years away and unlike now, where you get a selection of Pho, Fusion, Mexican, Vegan and any other trendy dish that your heart can imagine, when I moved in here the only place to eat within walking distance of my house was the bullet proof chinese food place. It had a wall of bullet proof glass and if you wanted something, you YELLED your order through the bullet proof glass, placed your money in a bullet-proof lazy susan and passed it to the other side, then they would place your food in the bullet proof lazy susan and send it your way.

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

Well, I'm on week 2 now of my Couch to 5K program. I've never been much of a jogger, but I think I can handle this. It starts of easy (run 60 seconds, walk 90) and takes about 1/2 hour out of my day. I've been doing it at lunch with a co-worker (insert a "that's what she said" joke here).

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

Trashcan Sinatras

I went to the Rock N Roll Hotel last night to see my favorite band, the Trashcan Sinatras. If you don't know who they are, I feel sorry for you. I'm not surprised you haven't heard of them, because they are far less popular than many shitty musicians (Yes Brett Michaels, I'm talking to you) but they are really good. They are the greatest (and possibly the only) rock band to ever come out of Scotland. I realize that saying you are the best band in Scotland is like saying you are the toughest kid on the chess team, but I assure you they are the best band you've never heard of.

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

more questions than answers

I thought I would return to blogging, but I haven't felt like it much lately. My nephew, who turned 19 a couple of weeks ago, died in a car crash over Memorial Day weekend. That night I couldn't sleep at all and at 4am I watched this video more times than I can count. I don't know what I was looking for. Maybe I thought the outcome would change on one of those repeated viewings. Maybe I was looking for some kind of clue that it was all a mistake (that's not his car, somebody else was sitting in the driver's seat, maybe he made it out alive...). But no matter how many times I watched it, the ending never changed. Except for the crickets chirping, the video is eerily quiet and peaceful. They said he died on impact and didn't suffer. It's heartbreaking to watch, but although the ending never changes, at least it was peaceful.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Explanations are in order...not

Wow, I just noticed that, according to the date on my last post it's been about 5 months since I've written anything blogwise. If you think an explanation is in order, you'd be wrong. You get what you pay for, and I do this out of the goodness of my heart and my narcissistic vanity, so don't complain if it never comes ("that's what she said!"). I'm sure you'll get over the trauma of that just like you got over your first crush, or the dissapointment of learning that there is no Santa Claus (for those of you that learned that just now from reading this sentence, I want you to know that your parents only lied to you because they hate you, and that it will get better). I didn't get kidnapped and sent to Guantanamo Bay for interrogation; I didn't get hit by a car and I certainly didn't win the lottery--if I did, this blog is the last place I'd be right now. I just didn't feel like blogging. Writing is like a bowel movement (that's a simile your creative writing professor can be proud of), some people can do it regularly every morning and others need to be in the mood for it. You can't just will this sh1t into existence, right?

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

I've been making small incremental progress on the house. I painted the kitchen the other day, then had a barbeque with lots of beer, meat and people who love free beer and meat. Anyway, here are some before/after shots of the kitchen.

Before: Not bad, just too...white.

After: I like how the doors at the end stand out now.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Odds and Ends

Well, I'm going salsa dancing for the first time in a while on saturday. It's kind of a birthday thing. I haven't been to The Salsa Room in ages, but hopefully I still have some impressive moves. Back when I was dancing pretty regularly, I was asked a couple of times to join a performance group, but I seriously doubt that anyone would ask me that now (unless all the top dancers in the area died in a horrible plane crash and they started looking for improbable replacements). I think once I reached a certain level of skill with salsa, it stopped being a challenge, and I found other things to do. I didn't want to to keep at it long enough to be the best, because although I liked it a lot, it wasn't my life's passion or anything.

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

Thoughts on Steroids

Mark McGuire admitted being on steroids during the season when he set the record for the most homeruns in baseball. This is disapointing, but not surprising. If you look up Olympic gold medalists, you will find Carl Lewis' name displayed, but if you are old enough to remember the olympics that year, you will remember that he was smoked by a certain Canadian who was built like Schwartzenegger, but was stripped of the gold after her tested positive for roids. For all eternity, whenever they show old Carl winning the gold, you will see him getting beaten by a guy who looks like the terminator, and the announcer will tell you about the steroids and disqualification. If Mark is stripped of the record, I wonder if Sammy Sosa will be the Carl Lewis of baseball. (and if Barry Bonds is reading this, just because you haven't come clean like Mark doesn't mean that you are fooling anybody).

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

A well needed rest

I always disliked snow, but now I truly hate it. There are lots of people that love the snow, but those people are idiots. They enjoy snow because to them, it's a opportunity for play. Those people probably live in an apartment and someone else shovels the snow for them. If you own a house, you are your own peon.

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


Blech! So the lab results came back and it turns out that I had a staph infection in my knee. Although it was really painful (and gross when they cut it open to get the nasty stuff out), I guess I should be happy because I've heard some horror stories about staph infections (including death).

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


I won't post a picture of my knee because you might be eating, but I've been having a knee...issue. It was bothering me during jiu jitsu class, but it was no worse than any of the other bangs and bruises that I've suffered at the hands of that cruel samurai art. It got progressively worse though and by midnight I could no longer walk up the stairs. I thought I'd rest it a couple of days, but the pain got really bad and my knee started to swell. It looked like someone put a small shot glass under my knee. The GF was kinda grossed out by it so I started to suspect it might be worse than I thought. I tried to find out what it was on the internet, and it looked like "bursitis" so I made an appointment with an orthopedic doctor the following day (the same place that I went to when I broke my finger doing jits). The doctor took one look at it said it wasn't bursitis.

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.