Monday, January 30, 2006
Well, I didn't work quickly enough...I sat down at the office with my coffee and chocolate muffin and while I was stuffing my fat face, the unimaginable happened. Yep.
I split my freakin' pants. This is some sorta' karmic lesson about calling my brother "fat ninja".
Now I gotta' sneak out and walk 10 blocks to the nearest store that actually sells mens clothes and buy some trousers before I get fired for indecent exposure.
(actually, there is a Burberry store about 8 blocks away, but I don't feel like spending $400 on a pair of pants.)
Yesterday was my birthday, so I guess this is the universe's gift to me. I always knew the universe was a practical joker.
I started by cutting a groove in the pieces that I needed to take aout with a circular saw. I also drilled a hole on the end so that I wouldn't be cutting too close to the end with my circular saw (didn't want to damage the adjoining piece).
This is the circular saw I used. I borrowed it from my freind Easy Rider. I lent Easy Rider and his fiance, Maple Leaf, a mitre saw that I wasn't using so they could do some molding at their place and I borrowed their circular saw to do this project. By the way, there's nothing wrong with your monitor. That saw has a freakin' laser attacthed to its head.
That's almost as good as a shark with a freakin' laser attatched to its head.
I should mention that I am old fashioned and I don't have ANY cordless tools (except for a cordless screwdriver that I have no idea how it came into my posession). I only use stuff with cords because I don't think cordless has the power I need. I usually think that if something's not working out, I just need a bigger, more powerful tool and I can get the job done. But this cordless worked surprisingly well. Maybe I'll give up my dinosaur ways and get a cordless drill next.
After I cut a gouge in the wood with the circular saw, I chiseled out the planck that I needed to remove. This was pretty difficult since the chinese chisels I got from Harbor Freight kinda' sucked. I have gotten good stuff from them in the past, but these chisels really suck the big onee.
Then I pried it out with a chisel and/or pry bar.
This is the drill I used. It's a Black & Decker Firestorm series. I don't mind giving them a free plug (but I would whore myself and endorse them for cash if they offered it). I also have an angle grinder and jigsaw by B&D Firestorm. It's nice suff, definitely worth the money.
Here is a simulation of what it looks like to pry the wood out with the pry bar (if you have invisible hands).
On the new replacement piceces of wood, I cut the tongue and the bottom half of the groove off so that I could drop the wood into the existing holes. Without cutting the toungues and grooves of, I wouldn't have been able to wedge them in.
Okay, I couldn't figure out how to fix that hole without spending a half a day bracing it from underneath. Then I had a good idea. It was bordeline genius, if I do say so myself. I added these deck supports underneath. It's at least as strong as 3/4" plywood. and I installed it in like 45 seconds...Sweet!
Then I carefully cut around the pipe and finished fixing the hole with new boards.
Like this....now all I have to do is re-connect the radiator and I can blog without the help of the little space heater that could.
Tuesday, January 24, 2006
Okay, I finally snapped a few pics of the my Crazy Sudanese Neighbor's yard. I'll try to upload them and post about it before I have to turn over my computer to the Apple Care people so they work their Mac Magic on it. It's probably the logic board that's jacked up, which is expensive...grrrrrr. I looked up "logic board" on their website which describes what a logic board problem would look like:
- Scrambled or distorted video
- Appearance of unexpected lines on the screen
- Intermittent video image
- Video freeze
- Computer starts up to blank screen
Yeah, I got all that stuff. I notice that it takes longer to get completely screwed up when I am using Firefox than it does when I use Internet Explorer or Safari. That's why I was hoping that it was related to some kinda' virus that I might have picked up on the one occassion when my computer may have accidentaly visited a p0rn site for like a half a second. I think my friend was using it at the time...no, really.
Unfortunately, the Mac girl said it's probably not a virus. Mac useres are too benign to write viruses (or is it Virii?). We're like a race of benevolent Yoda creatures. And even if there were a bad apple (no pun intended) among us, no one bothers to write viruses for computers with a 5% market share...what's the point.
I was hoping I could fix it with a cheap anti-virus program, but the Mac girl told me that Mac's OSX operating system is Unix based and virturally indestructable. She said it's most likely going to be the logic board and it's going to be $150 an hour for the labor and about $400 for the part.
I should mention that I would rather dress up like Mickey Mouse and get kicked in the nuts HARD than pay $550 just to get my computer working the way it's supposed to work in the first place, but I digress.
I'll also post about what (little) work I did this weekend about how jacked up the Feng Shui is at my place. Who knew? See y'all soon.
Saturday, January 21, 2006
This week has been kinda' stessful because of family drama, realationship drama, house drama and work drama. So I needed to retreat to my Jedi meditation chamber.
This thing always makes me feel better. But I have to admit, I can't close the lid on it without thinking of Darth Vader in his meditation chamber.
He must tan a lot. I don't think I could get that dark, even if I went everyday.
Keep it real, Darth!
I had to give a presentation today and I was a little nervous because:
- I hate public speaking more than John Aschcroft hates the Constitution;
- annual reviews are coming up, so I want to leave a good impression;
- I just came from the tanning booth so I smell like Coconuts.
I hoped nobody would notice about the last part.
Boss: what's that smell?
Ninja: I don't smell anything?
Boss: It smells like Tahiti.
Ninja: Oh yeah....that's me. I uhhhh, had some coconuts for breakfast.
Boss: you eat Coconuts for breakfast?
Ninja: Only if I'm out of Mangos.
Now, in case you are wondering what I do for a living, I practice in an area of derivatives law that is so obscure that my boss and I have to fly in separate airplanes because if we both died in a plane crash, this arcane knowledge would die with us and the financial markets would return to the dark ages. The world would resort to the barter system and you readers would be paid in salt and chickens and return to serfdom. Seriously bad mojo.
Anyway, I was having trouble focusing and couldn't even remember stuff on my one-page cheat sheet no matter how much I re-read it. Then, when the meeting came, I was saved. You know how in the Odyssey, Odysseus was saved by Athena, the goddess of wisdom just when things looked their bleakest? Well, Theta, the greek goddess of derivatives took pity on me and pumped some knowledge into my brain.
I was lucid, I was quoting statutes, rules, Supreme Court precedents, obscure legal theories, dissenting opinions. It was unbelievable. Man, I gotta go offer up a sacrificial pig or something as thanks for that save. I wonder if I need an actual pig or if Theta will take some proscuitto instead?
[note: I shoulda' posted this yesterday. My review went well too. My bosses said that I am freakishly smart and doing my job well, but to stop coming in to work wearing cocoa-butter cologne].
Wednesday, January 18, 2006
I was at a friend's place recently and I think I saw the coolest piece of furniture ever invented by man (aside from the vibrating recliner with built-in beer cooler). It's this thing right here.
I think I mentioned that my Apple iMac is having problems and I may have to decide to get rid of it and buy a laptop instead if it turns out to be too much money to fix. (I think it's the logic board. I have no idea what a logic board is, or what it does, but it sounds expensive).
If I did get a laptop, this thing would be perfect. I could sit in bed, drink my over-priced yuppie blend coffee and blog away 'till I'm good and ready to face the world.
There are a couple of problems with this scenario.
- I don't need another excuse to keep me laying around in bed;
- I love my iMac and I don't know if I could put her down, like a lame horse, just because she is injured;
- this thing is sold in Walmart. I don't have any moral reservations about buying stuff in Walmart, but I'm worried that someone might see me there and look at me differently when I stop into Dean & Deluca for some gourmet yuppie-blend coffee. You know, like they no longer believe that I am REALLY a yuppie...those judgmental bastards!
- technically, I already have a laptop (a Windows one) that I never use because I could never get the high-speed internet card to work right. Common sense says that I should try to get it going, but I think I need to buy an Apple laptop. Once you get hooked on heroin, it's tought to switch back to pot.
This is what my beautiful baby looks like. (please get well soon) It's like a work of art. She's beautiful. If she was a girl, whe would look like this:
and I would probably marry her...even though she isn't a blonde or redhead and she dresses kinda' trampy.
I hope she wears something more conservative when she meets my parents...we're Catholics, after all.
Here is the link to where they sell it at Walmart. Other places charge like $100 bucks of for it (it's $60 zt the evil empire). I'll probably buy it at Wally's. I'd pay a little more if they had it at Target so that I can avoid the long lines and surly staff, but I don't think I'd pay twice as much for the pleasant shopping experience.
Saturday, January 14, 2006
I should mention that whenever I find a really nice bathroom to, ummm, to do my business I usually name it.
- the toilet by the law library at school, by the Federal Registers, which no one knew about but me--The Fortress of Solitude;
- the bathroom in my Dad's place in Florida (wall-to ceiling italian marble everywhere): the Taj Mahal;
- the nice toilet at work: the Throne of Gondor.
You get the picture. Anyway, without further ado, I give you: The Emerald City!
This is a shot from the doorway. My brother helped with the install. With Ceramic Tile, I'm like Rainman is with BlackJack, but this is the first time I did Marble by myself (which is much less forgiving) so I wanted the skillz of the Fat Ninja on this one.
I should probably think of a new nickmane for him since he beat me up about 500 times when we were growing up and I probably shouldn't make him mad. I'd like to think I could take him now, but that's probably just wishful thinking. (My record against him is something like 499 losses- 0 wins-1 draw)
Here is a finished shot of the right side of the room. The wall has been primed, but not painted yet.
I'm telling you, with all that marble, if you take a deuce on that toilet, you'll feel like the King of Siam.
We drilled the holes for the toliet paper holder right on the grout joint so that the tile wouldn't crack. This tile would crack all over the place (Chinese Marble, man).
It looks a lot nicer after it is primed. I thought about using ceramic, but the nice ceramic tile was only a little less than the marble tile on sale so I went with the marble. This stuff looks great on the wall, but would crack a lot when I cut it on the wet saw so there was way more waste than I wanted. If I had to it over, I wouldn't use this marble again, I would pay for the good stuff from Italy. Once it's on the wall, however, it's solid.
Here is a nice shot of the vanity and toilet. (okay, yes, I am bragging about a toilet). This was a pain to install because the plumbing monkey intsalled the toilet flange wrong when he leveled the floor so it took a little ingenuity on me & Fat Ninja's part to get it to get the bolts to sit right.
We also installed that tile on the floor. I think it matches well with the marble. I used a 2x2 tile because I didn't want to take a chance that using larger ones on the floor might cause them to crack. (plus it's not a big bathroom).
Another gratuitous shower shot.
Look at those lines....sswwweeeeeeeeeeeeet!
I also tiled behind the shower. I need to finish that door off with some trim.
This is what it looked liked with drywall, but before primer. I added more mud and and sanded before priming.
Here is something that still needs to be fixed. I need to close that hole in the ceiling, but first I need to get another bath fan and some of that ducting to take the moisture outside. The previous owner had a working fan in there, but no ductwork, so the fan was basically taking the steam from the shower and shooting it into that rafters...don't get me started on that.
This is something else I need to do too. I need to get some trim and finish around the door.
Closing up that switch box too might help. Bare wires and water are probably not a good mix.
My brother and I installed this sink too. It's only 24" wide. I would've liked a wider one, but I needed somthing that wasn't very deep (because the whirlpool tub sticks out a couple of inches more now, a regular vanity is kinda' a tight fit). This one is only about 13" deep.
AFTER we installed this I saw that HD now sells the same 13" deep one in a 30" wide model. Arrrrgh! Even when I don't buy soemthing from them, they still manage to piss me off.
[Ooops. I moved the pics on Photobucket and they went MIA for a while. They are back up now. ]
Friday, January 13, 2006
This blog was supposed to be mostly about Home Improvement, but if Ninja news comes up, I'll inform you about it. If you don't like ninja news, don't worry, it doesn't happen very often (one of the "news" items is 3 years old).
An indy film maker made a short about a ninja on a blind date.
Nice getup, but I think ninjas can dress up like regular people when they are not out scaling rural japanese fortresses to slay recalcitrant feudal lords.
The U of Md will have 150 artist-created turtle scultpures exhibited in DC*
Most of the sculptures are nothing to write home about, but this ninja chap looks like he could hang drywall with the best of 'em.
*If you'll remember, DC did this a couple of years ago with Elephant and Donkey sculptures, which itself was yet another attempt by DC to imitate a NY Trend (the Cows on Parade), and come off as hipster poseurs in the process. Thank you Mayor Williams for proving that you are banal as you are dim-witted.
In other sad, but belated news, a friend sent me this article.
SAN FRANCISC -- San Francisco sheriff's deputies shot and wounded a man dressed as a ninja yesterday after he allegedly threatened them with knives and other weapons as they tried to evict him from his apartment.
Witnesses described a bizarre scene in which deputies shot and then tackled the oddly garbed man in the middle of the day on a busy South of Market street.
Deputies fired at least four rounds and wounded Charlie Perez, 30, in the elbow and leg. He was listed in fair condition at San Francisco General Hospital. Authorities said he avoided more serious injuries because he was wearing body armor.
The incident began at 9 a.m., when Perez refused to cooperate when deputies came to evict him from his apartment at 136 Sixth St., authorities said.
Four deputies returned about noon, accompanied by medical personnel. Perez fled down a fire escape, officials said. Inside, police found bows and arrows, spears and other weapons.
Perez ran down Moss Alley, allegedly armed with two three-foot- long swords, a 2 1/2-foot-long machete and several throwing knives. As deputies chased him, ``he turned and charged,'' said Eileen Hirst, spokeswoman for the Sheriff's Department.
``He refused orders to stop and shots were fired,'' Hirst said. Perez then turned and continued to flee, she said.
``Then he rounded the corner onto Folsom Street. One of our deputies noticed there were schoolkids playing at a nearby playground. Then he took a flying leap and tackled him.''
Witnesses said the deputies appeared to have shot Perez as a last resort.
``I think the guy had it coming. The guy had a Samurai sword and wasn't stopping,'' said Jack Silva, 41, who works at a press shop across the street from where Perez was finally subdued.
Silva said Perez was dressed like a ninja, complete with a ponytail sticking straight up and black- nylon-and--chain belt.
``It was really weird; it definitely raised the adrenaline,'' Silva said.
Chris McDermott, assistant manager of MACadam Computers, said Perez was tackled right in front of his store.
``I heard sheriff's deputies shout, `Freeze, drop it, Freeze, drop it!' Then, bang, bang,'' McDermott said.
``He had a machete, a hand blade and a weird metal belt with chains,'' McDermott said. ``He
was a very confused guy.''
About 120 children were playing in the yard at Bessie Carmichael School when the shots were fired. No one was hurt.
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I'll be the first to admit I feel sorry for this guy if he was really was a ninja and really did get evicted. Getting shot by trigger-happy cops is tough, but not as tough as trying to find a rental in San Fransisco. Good luck on that one, dude.
But I really doubt he was a ninja, since a ninja wouldn't stand in the street with a samurai sword. He would probably kill all the lights (no pun intended) then hide in the closet and attack the swat cops with some type of improvised (but deadly) short range weapon...like a shoe with deadly powerful razor blades attached to it.
Thursday, January 12, 2006
Well, I usually don't link to other people's posts. Mostly, it's because until just now, I had no idea how to. Yet this bar chart deserves such an honor.
I had blamed taking on 15 pounds to stress, chili dogs and lack of exercise, but apparently I put on weight because I bought a bigger house.
Since people expand to fill their environment, my cave-gene sought to make me larger so that I would take up more territory. My larger territory would be marked by my larger physical presence, which is less messy than marking it by peeing in the corners.
I got to thinking about this graph because just when I decided to eat healthy, Burger King sends me a stack of coupons in the mail with my two favorite words in the english language: Free Whopper. All I have to do get a free one is buy one at the normal price. I should mention a couple of things.
- Yes, I can eat two whoppers...and still have room for fries and a coke;
- they closed the Burger King nearby, and the nearest one is 10 blocks away;
- yes, I would walk 10 blocks to eat a whopper...wouldn't you?
If I wasn't trying to eat healthy, this would be a no-brainer. I wouldn't eat two Big Macs, even if they were free and even though McD's is closer, but this a friggin' whopper, people.
Now, just because something is free, doesn't mean that you should take it. If someone offered you a free glass of Miller Lite, or urine, you would probably say no, right? Now before someone at Miller decides to sue me, let me say that I am NOT saying that Miller Lite is made from urine. My friend who is a chemist tells me that, although they taste same, there are less calories in urine.At any rate, BK is not in the cards for now. I went to the gym on Monday and Johnny Vegas lifted more than me (I'll never hear the end of that one).
My computer is crapping out on me and I have to take it to the Apple center in the Mall to get it checked out, so I did manage to upload a couple of finished pics of the bathroom before my computer really started acting funky so I'll try to post the final bathroom pics from the Toolbelt Diva's computer in a day or two. (I say try because the TBD read me the riot act a few days ago about what a terrible boyfriend I've been lately. I couldn't defend myself b/c it's all true, but now that there is some progress on the place, maybe I'll be under less stress...real floors under your feet will do that sometimes).
Alchemic Spot: Americans Grow To Fit Their Environment
Wednesday, January 11, 2006
Okay, here is a pic of what the old bathroom looked like. Before you ask, yes, that door was broken when I bought the place. The place reaaaaaaly looked like crap and needed to be re-done, but the previous owner (PO) didn't think anything was wrong with it and was asking top-dollar for the place because he saw renovated places in the neighborhood selling for a lot of money.
Well, smarty, if you think it's that easy to fix up, you should do it yourself. I eventually talked the guy down to a reasonable amount. My realtor couldn't believe my negotiation skillz. And I got the place for what new 1BR luxury condos were selling for in the area.
Oh, by the way, you probably can't tell from here, but that floor was reaaaaallly fcuked up and unlevel. It was 2.5 lower where the toilet is than it was on the other side of the bathroom. I had it leveled with cement before I installed the floor tile.
Here is a pic of the old shower (it's a small bath, so it's hard to get a pic of the whole room. The ugly 50s bright yellow tile and toilet was too much to look at. I think that prozak hadn't been invented back then so people dealt with depression by decorating their houses in annoying bright, happy colors.
Okay, the Plumbing Monkey installed greenboard in the shower. That's technically, okay by the building code, but I wanted something a little better, so that it wouldn't have to be re-done in 20 years. So I, myself, installed 1/4" cement board over the green board. I don't like the idea of adding it after the tub has already been installed (b/c sometimes it looks like the walls are swallowing up the tub) but I used thin cement board so it looked okay. Plus, this stuff (hopefully) will last another 100 years and future gerenarations can marvel at my friggin' marble-setting skillz.
I didn't want to rip out the greenboard b/c it would be more time and money, plus, I was already thinking of firing the guy, so I didn't want to pay him to do stuff I could do myself (like adding the cement board over the greenboard), which is why I had them do the heavy unskilled labor stuff (like knocking down walls or carrying in drywall deliveries).
Here i sealed the gaps between the cement board with thinset and added the ledger board so that I could start laying the tile straight. The tub wasn't perfectly level (thanks to the plumbing monkey) but I wanted the tile to be level and plumb. I knew this would come back to haunt me.
Well, after I installed the ledgerboards to keep the marble straight and keep it from slipping while it sets, I started with the marble.
You can probably see that I only installed cement board on two of the the three walls in the shower. I didn't do it on the far wall because
- then I would have to put it on that whole wall (even outside the tube) so that the wall is even; and
- I figured that there isn't a whole lot of water that will hit that back wall anyway.
In addition to the ledger board, you can see that I held the marble in place with duct tape until it dried. This is probably overkill, but I didnt' want to take any chances.
Well, my computer at home is acting up so I probably won't be able to post the finished pics until this weekend when I can hook my camera up to someone elses' computer. But these pics should hold you 'till them.
So I started by installing a ledger board on the wall to keep the tile straight and to keep it from slipping while it sets.
Friday, January 06, 2006
Well, because I don't like to think to far ahead, here are my precidtions for next week.
- work out more: Johnny Vegas asked if I was ready to start going back to the Gym next week. So I'll try to go at least twice next week;
- food: I decided to start eating healthy again next week to get back to my fighting weight. Rather than eaaaaase into the transition, I'm stuffing my face with chili dogs all this week and washing it down with Cokes...I'll go cold turkey (literally) on monday.
- blog: Blogging is hard, and time consuming. I don't know how some people have 3 or 4. Good luck with that! Next week I'll post some pics up of my marble bathrooom that I have been bragging about and which people have been asking about. It's worth the wait. When I have kids and one of them graduates law school, someone will ask me if it's the proudest day of my life and I'll say "no...but it's a close second" and refer them to my blog.
- I'll post some pics of my crazy Sudanese neighbor's yard and explain why I almost had a fistfight with their contractors (long story and it sorta need pics to explain it right).
- I'll try to finish up the upstairs bathroom (paint, a little drywall and replace a marble saddle).
- I'll try to add a second coat of mud to the ceiling of the living/dining room (that might not happen though).
- I'll think of way to fix that big hole I cut in the floor (I'm putting a bigass iron radiator RIGHT over the hole, so I gotta think of a way to make the support stronger than a Crazy Sudanese Neighbor's breath).
I think posting a list on here will keep me honest. I don't know if I could sleep nights if readers kept asking me why I never got around to replacing that marble saddle in the bathroom.
Wednesday, January 04, 2006
Well, from this first pic, you can see how far along I was with the flooring on the top floor. The flooring I used here and in one of the bedrooms is a 5" wide white oak floor that I got on clearance for $3 a square foot (the much thinner floor that I used in the rest of the house was $3.50 a square foot. I would've liked to have used these wide planks everywhere
- because it looks more like the original wide plank flooring that came with the house
- it's more than twice as wide so it only takes 1/2 as long to install and with half as many cuts
- it's cheaper than the other stuff (.50 a square foot doesn't sound like much, but I have about 1000 sqaure feet to install).
- I think the lighter wood is better if you don't get a lot of natural light.
Here is a decent intermediate shot. I stopped about here to fix some sponginess in the subfloor.
This is the transition to the floor of the only bedroom where I laid pergo instead of real hardwood. I used pergo there because I wanted at least one finished room to live in while I worked on the rest of the house. 3 things:
So that they don't look like this.
Because the Plumbing Monkey and his flunkees used 1/2" plywood instead of 3/4" and because they didn't level the floors properely, I had to use a lot of shingles to level the floor out (or some left over pergo occassionally).
I cut the tongue and some fo the bottom off the groove so that I could change it from a male to female piece so that it would connect right with the honey oak flooring in the bedroom (where I started laying it from the other side of the room).
Well, this is what the inside of the closet looked like. 1⁄2” plywood is not strong enough for my tastes, but at least it’s better than a big hole in the floor. Great workmanship, Monkey boy! I swear I should’ve fired that moron the first week, or enrolled him in the special Olympics.GRRRrrrrrrrr!!!
This is the part of the floor that was springy. I didn't want the contractor I fired to rip up the plywood, so I told him to add some bracing to the joists from underneath to keep it from being bouncy.
And he did, but wouldn't you know, when he screwed the subfloor to the joists, almost every screw missed the joist by 1/4" or so.
Newflash to braniac: in really old houses, sometimes the joists aren't exactly 16" apart.
On this shot I think you can tell that screws missed the bracing (and the joist) by about 1/2". I guess they don't have that "if at first you don't succeed, try, try again" saying in Plumbing Monkey's hometown.
Because I like my screws to go into the joists (as opposed to into the air), I marked where they are.
This is where the floor transitions to the stairs. Before you tell me that the 1x3 on the edge looks ghetto, let me say "shut the hell up about my beautiful floor!". Since I got the wide planks on clearance, they didn't have any pre-finished white oak stair trim for it. I did buy some UN-finished white oak bull nose stair trim (I overpaid in fact) and cut it to size, but I want to install it until I find the right stain for it and finish it before I install it so that it doesn't get dirty and look like I polyeurethaned over some coffee stains. By the way, for that stair trim I paid $8 a linear foot and got like 10-12 feet of it even though I only ended up needing 30". Math is not my best skill. Anyone need some stair bullnose trim?
And here is what the finished floor looks like.
Well, almost finished; this is something that still needs tending to. This a hole that I cut in one of the bedroom floors to get at the pipe (long story). It's a pretty big hole, as you can see. That soda can is to give you an idea of the size, not because I am a slob when I work.