Tuesday, May 30, 2006

My 15 Minutes of Fame Becomes 16

Unfortunately, I'm home from work today so I didn't get my copy of The Express today. For those of you outside the DC area, The Express is a small free paper that the Washington Post gives out to commuters outside of the urban hipster metro stations in the hopes that you will be so impressed with their ability to report the news that you will eventually break down and pay $0.35 for a full copy of the big paper (instead of reading it for free online). The reason I said "unfortunately" is because I was quoted today in the paper. I could've been like on the metro, seen it, then taken off my iPod and yelled, "read it and weep you hipster poseurs! I'll bet you'll be crying into your venti moccaiato decaf now, bitchez"

Actually, I probably wouldn't have done that. 'Cuz then you have to try to explain to the cops why you were yelling, and you can show them the paper but then you gotta tell them about how you're not really crazy and you don't really think you are a ninja, and "no, I'm not armed...and i don't need a psych evaluation, really I don't...I feel fine" So anyway hopefully someone I know in real life will have the sense to save me a hard copy of the paper. If it's Johnny Vegas, I'm sure he'll charge me like $10 for it, but that's just how he rolls.

Monday, May 29, 2006

White Ninja

Happy Memorial Day. In honor of the bank holiday honoring the numerous war dead, you may now wear white again, at least until Labor Day, when it's time to honor the socialists.

I know you're wondering if it's possible to practice ninja stealth while wearing white. I think the key is just to ditch the mask and don a disguise which incorporates seasonal white fabrics, and yet which is sufficiently badass to be ninja-esque.

I ordered this disguise last week from the ninja mart. Listen to the description: "This poly-cotton blend suit will strike fear into the heart of your enemies . It is comfortable enough to wear to assasinate a feudal overload trying to usurp the shogunate, yet fashionable enough to go out dancing afterwards in Tokyo's hippest Ginza Karaoke bars. Numerous pockets for shurikens and ninja smoke bombs are in the jacket, as well as a pouch for the cell phone (wig sold separately). "

I know it's double breasted and that seems kinda' 80s, but I like to think of it as old skool. You could be like the ninja John Gotti. Except you're not as fat and no jail can hold you.

And yes, I did order the wig too. The outfit is kinda lacking without that kickass wig.

Anyway, I got a couple of drafts of posts that I'll try to get out this week, including the final update to the Florida story and some stuff about underpinning. Stay tuned.

Saturday, May 27, 2006

Welcome Visitor Number 10,000

So I checked my sitemeter and I find out that had received my 10,000th visitor. That's a pretty impressive feat for a site that's about toilets and ninjas. Anyway, I have no idea who this person is, but welcome.
Random Facts about the 10,000th visitor.
  1. They live in Rockville, Maryland;
  2. They use Windows (tm), but have Firefox as their browser;
  3. they are the 10,000th visitor.
For being the 10,000th visitor there won't be any money, but when you die, on your deathbed, you will receive total consciousness. So you got that goin' for you, which is nice.

Friday, May 26, 2006

Ninja News....and Save the Internet

Okay, todays edition of ninja news has a lot of video clips. In fact, it's only video clips. I would even go so far as to call it videorific, except that's not really a word. First up is a video of the Ninja commercial for a cell phone. That reminds me that I need to get a camera phone, but I digress.

If you click on THIS link, it will take you to worksafe video by my imaginary friends at Rathergood.com. Look for the Ninja Cameo. Rathergood is one of the only sites in the history of webdom to earn the honor of being included in my "Websites that Don't Suck" section. It is the only site to receive that honor with content that doesn't consist completely of cartoons. Now if you think that I'm saying that any website that doesn't have cartoons sucks, well that's exactly what I'm saying. A non-cartoon site can be great compared to other non-cartoon sites, but compared to a well made cartoon, it sucks. It's not even a fair constest. It's like fighting a knife with a gun. It's completely useless to even try unless your name is Yojimbo and you have Kurosawa writing the script. And yes, I even include my own blog in that statement. My own blog would not be good enough to be included in the "Websites that Don't Suck" section of my own blog. Now that's irony. I might include myself in the Ninpo Skillz section of my blog, but I would want to see more ninja content before I included it in a section with such ninja luminaries as Dr. McNinja, Fuggy Fuggy, and Ask a Ninja. I know I'm being hard on myself, but I'm catholic so no matter how hard I try, it will never be good enough. Are you happy now, Sister Helen! ARE YOU!!! No, don't beat me with the ruler...I know I made Jesus sad..I won't eat meat on friday during lent again, I swear I won't!!!

Sorry about that. That Catholic School education just keeps on givin', man.

Also, SAVE THE INTERNET!!! I don't know how closely you've been following the net neutrality debate, but our friends at AskANinja.com have come down on the side of the people and against "the man." I got an email last night from the headquarters of the International Order of Ninjas saying that if I don't take a stand battle for net neutrality, that at the next ninja convention in Reno, everyone would call me a girly ninja and throw shurikens at my face. So....here you go, a ninja video on net neutrality

(curtesy of ask a ninja).

And if you think the Ask a Ninja skits are funny on their own, see what happens when DoogToons does a cartoon take on the AskANinja skits.

(curtesy of DoogToons and Ask A Ninja).


Well, despite the bunch of half-finished posts that I should wrap up, I'm going to discuss something new. The coming recession...maybe. A couple of days ago the news reported that the yield curve on interest rates inverted. You don't have to know what that means, but you should know that it's a bad thing. Do you remember watching Star Trek as a kid and Scotty would tell Kirk that the anti-matter containment fields were failing? Even if you didn't have a clue what antimatter was (and let's face it, I still don't) you knew that it was bad if it wasn't contained. Well, yield curves are the same thing...sorta.

Before I explain what they are, I'll explain why they are important. Every recession ever, in the history of the universe (slight exaggeration) has come after we had an inverted yield curve. Now, sometimes you get an inverted yield curve without a recession, but you never have a recession without an inverted yield curve. Think of the inverted yield curve as the bread in your recessionary pizza. You can have bread that isn't made into a pizza, but you can't have pizza without bread. And if you are the kind of person who tops your pizza with pineapples, stop reading this post right now because you are obviously deranged and I can't talk sense to you.

So you might be reading this and thinking "that analogy is making me hungry, even though I can't eat pizza because of my lactose intolerance, can you explain some more?" Okay, here is what the yield curve should look like: A 3 month CD at your bank is supposed to pay a lower interest rate than a 10 year CD, right? Well, when the yield curve inverts, the short term stuff pays more than the long-term stuff. If that doesn't seem like it makes sense, you're right, it doesn't. It happens when somebody (Hi Dubya!) completely screws up the economy like a teenager learing to drive with a clutch, or a republican with his first Tranny hooker (Hi Porter Goss!).

Because this is such a grave development (which could lead me to win that bet I made a year ago with Johnny Vegas), I decided that in a future post, I'll give recession related financial advice on investing in the stock market. You can play along or invest beside me.

In the short term, if you are thinking of buying a house, this might not be a bad time because the markets are predicting a future rate cut. I'd be careful about buying a condo in a bubble market like Vegas, but investing in a house to live in should be a safe bet. Also, in general, I think Home Builder stocks might be underpriced right now. Even if bad things happen to housing market, these stocks have been getting killed in the market and the big boys (Toll Brothers, Pulte, D.R. Horton etc.) are trading at 6x earnings (most of the rest of the S&P is at like 15x earnings).

Oh, for next week I'll try to wrap up the florida trip, have a ninja news segment (maybe) and finish up telling you about the underpinning stuff.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

The Genocide Chronicles, Part 4

Anyway, I promised an update on the Sudanese guy and here it is. If you remember the episodes with the Sudanese guy here, here and here, we had a leeetle problem with him leaving about 40 cubic yards of dirt in a common driveway. I didn't want to narc on him because of the possible bad karma that could come from ratting on a possible genocide survivor. (although I could get worse karma if he's a genocide perpetrator and I stayed silent...damn you, karma!). If you don't remember that far back:

here is a before picture. This is how high the dirt was originally. It stayed that way for a while. I was patient and my patience payed off.

The Lord of Abraham and Moses saw my patience and said "it is good"...And then God smote his house with a mighty tree. (is the past tense of smite...smited or smoted?)

Proving what we already suspected: that Catholics are his chosen people and those ridiculous rituals with the incense and the kneeling that we go through do actually please him. (and that he forgives me for calling Sister Helen a fat penguin when I was 6...and again when I was 32).

Actually, this handiwork might have been the work of the Arch -angel Gabriel, but there is plenty of credit to go around. Big ups to whomever was responsible.

So back to the update: He hired people while I was in Florida and they cleaned out (most of) the dirt in the driveway.I don't know if it was 'cuz I narc'd on him, if it was the voodoo dolls I made of him with the sacrificial chicken blood, or maybe it was the dead hooker* I left on his doorstep with a note saying "get rid of the dirt in your driveway or I'll kill you next." But whatever it was that did it, it's (mostly) gone.

Here's an after picture. I mean it's not ALL gone, but it looks a lot better.

There is a still a problem with people illegally dumping in the alley. But if I do decide to rent out a furnished room to an intern this summer for some extra cash that broken dresser and urine-stained mattress will probably come in handy.

I'm thinking of narc'ing on him again about the illegal underpinning thing he's doing in his basement, but I'll do a separate post about that later.

*Okay, this will be the last dead hooker joke I make on my blog...probably. I don't want weirdos coming to my blog looking for dead hookers. Unless they already here, in which case...welcome!

Monday, May 22, 2006

My New Hero

This guy is my new hero. In case you're wondering whey my new hero is a nigerian cab driver, I'll explain. He goes to the BBC for a job interview and they mistake him for one of the world's top authorities on internet piracy. Rather than correct them, he plays along. The look on his face when he realizes that he is on TV is priceless.

Plane Ticket from Nigeria $1450

Taxi Cab Licence (note cool british spelling) $500

New Clothes for Job Interview $70

Being on International Televesion and telling everyone back home that you made The BBC look like the morons they are: PRICELESS

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Weekend Progress and Random Stuff.

Believe it or not, I actually got some stuff done this weekend. I did some mudding, sanding and painting. The scaffold I bought last year came in really handy.

I bought this for $100. This is way better than a ladder. I was gonna say it's better like in the way that a Double Stuff is better than a regular Oreo Cookie. But actually, this is so awesome that it's better like Double Stuff is better than those weird red and white mints that old people give you for halloween.

I used it to do work this weekend on the kitchen. This is the best $100 that I ever spent (outside of Amsterdam). By the way, never google "Double Stuff" from work. It's apparently a term for some kinda fetish porn. (Actually, I'm Catholic so anything depicting sex that isn't missionary style is, technically, fetish porn).


After some MORE mudding to fix the bad drywall job that the contractors did, I had to sand this room. Sanding the drywall sux. I probably hate it more than I hate plumbing. If I had a choice between a weekend of sanding and getting kicked in the nuts by a girl with pointy shoes and freakishly muscular legs, I would probably take the sanding, but it would a close call.

I have this really cool Darth Vader looking respirator/dusk mask bu I didn't know where I put my dust mask so I did it without one. I was covered in dust and I breathed in a lot of it in. I looked like a powdered doughnut when I was done. A really sexy anarcho-capitalist powdered doughnut. I really hope that stuff doesn't cause cancer.


Then I primed the kitchen. Now it's ready for painting. But the primer sorta looks like paint, so I'll probably leave it like that until I install the cabinets.

In other random news. My blog was mentioned in the Express again. The link is Here.
(I'm adding the link so that I'll know where to find it when I'm looking for it). Man, if I had a dollar for everytime I was mentioned in the paper, I'd have $3 right now. That would rock!

Okay, here is something completely random. My friend, we'll call him "Wayne" (even though his name is Matt), took part in a 48 Hour Film Contest (the task is to write, cast and shoot a film with certain required elements within 48 hours). Random Facts aboout Wayne:
  1. Youngish partner from my old firm who is one of the only people from there that I still keep in touch with (Paddy McShamrock is the other one, who is still my friend even though he claims I got him fired...which I deny);
  2. If you hang around him long enough he will probably end up saying something that will be unintentionally funny, but end up being the funniest thing you heard all week;
  3. Got bored of being a partner at a law firm so he gave up a lucrative salary and just quit so that he could decide what he wanted to do with himself (grande cojones on that one);
  4. Really hot, but psychotic, chicks come to his halloween parties (I'm not exaggerating on the psychotic part...or the hot part).
Anyway, Wayne used to keep his sanity by taking creative writing classes at night after doing mind-numbing legal work all day. These classes consisted soleley of sexually frustrated women in their 40s and 50s...and Wayne. Every woman would write variations on exactly the same story: A bored housewife (who's in her 40s or 50s) has a workaholic husband (accountant, lawyer, etc), and she ends up having an affair with a younger muscular guy (who is always latino or italian) and works with his hands (plumber, bricklayer, etc.). They always end up doing it in the big house that the husband pays the mortgage on. When Wayne was comtemplating marriage he told me this story and said "Is this what I have to look forward to? I'll work myself to death at the office while my wife lusts after young olive-skinned repairmen?" (see, unintentionally very funny). Anyway, Wayne shot a movie ant it premiered at this film festival that was part of this contest. Here is the description and link below.

I thought you might be interested in viewing the film I co-wrote for the 48 Hour Film Contest. I was also unexpectedly drafted to play a role. The film was screened last night at the AFI Silver Theater. It had to be a 4-7 minute film, written and produced in 48 hours, with 4 required elements:

1. Genre: Mockumentary (mock documentary)
2. Required character: Tim or Tina Tate, gay glass sculptor extraordinaire
3. Required prop: fire extinguisher
4. Required line of dialogue: "This is absolutely the last time."

The film can be viewed by clicking the link below. I hope you enjoy it!

(the film has a test pattern for the first 4-5 seconds, so just ignore that and play the rest. Wayne plays the Camera Guy).

Brushed Aside

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Dear Arlington Parking Nazis: Suck it!

Well, in case you are wondering what ever happened to the parking ticket I got from the Arlington Parking Nazis, it was dismissed. That's $40 less that the totalitarian government of Arlington Virginia will have to oppress it's citizens. The ninja strikes a blow for freedom! I totally feel like the guy in V for Vendetta now. Except that I fight oppression using my computer and ink jet printer instead of bombs.

Plus I don't keep hot chicks with shaved heads, like Natalie Portman, locked in my basement, which, let's face it, is kinda weird.

He's got really cool hats though.

Longtime readers will remember that when I first started blogging, I also beat a red light ticket from the fascists at the DC government. I'm starting to think my legal skillz are invincible. I'm like the Clarence Darrow of municipal court. Hopefully parking nazis and traffic cops everywhere will read this and realize that giving me a ticket is futile and they might as give up. With my skillz, I could probably show up to the police precinct, drunker than a Kennedy, in a stolen car, with a dead hooker in the trunk and still get away it.

Before I get angry letters about making dead hooker jokes, let me say that this is purely hypothetical.
  1. I live in DC and you can't walk out of your house and find dead hookers laying around like you can in New York or Detroit;
  2. I don't think it's medically possible to get drunker than a Kennedy. It's like saying that's it's possible to go faster than the speed of light. I mean, it's possible in a theoretical physics equation on Stephen Hawkings blackboard or maybe an episode of Star Trek, but not in real life; and
  3. I have no idea how to hotwire a car. So unless I start hanging out with Richard Dean Anderson and we start re-creating some of the all-time best MacGyver episodes, this entire scenario is implausible.*

Here's a copy of the actual letter, with the identifying info removed so I can retain my stealthiness.

And, yes, I did edit it out using post it notes because I don't know how to use photoshop. I told you before that my awesome skillz don't pertain to computers.

*It should also be noted that ALL MacGyver episodes are equally awesome, so it's impossible to single out a best episode. It's like saying "infiniti plus one". This, of course doesn't apply to the greatest MacGyver episode of all time: Three for the Road. Which is, ironically, exactly like infiniti plus one.

Sunday, May 14, 2006

Obligatory Mother's Day Post

My Mom doesn't read this blog...actually, she probably doesn't even know what a blog is. But it's apparently customary to say something nice about your Mom on mother's day.

I think my Mom is a nice person. Although I'm convinced that both my parents' favorite was my brother, I think she did a better job than my Dad at pretending to love us equally. My brother and I were obsessed with proving who's the best at anything, even being liked.

Everyone liked my brother more, even the dog. My brother would secretly feed the dog, Sammy, treats so that when we placed Sammy in the middle and both called to him at the same time (to see who he liked better), he would go to my brother, proving that there was nothing I could beat him at. My dad claimed not to have a favorite, but he did lavish more praise on my brother. Ostensibly it was only because he scored more goals, got better grades, or was better at carpentry than me, but even if I had performed as well as him, I secretly think my dad would just think I was showing off.

Although Sammy (and arguably my Dad) played favorites, my Mom tried not to. When my brother and I would quiz her on scenarios involving both of us about to be brutally killed and her only being able to save one of us, she would talk her way out it. If confronted by man-eating sharks, she claimed she would let the shark kill her so that both of us could live. Clearly, she wasn't playing by rules.

My brother claims I was the favorite. I think he's convinced himself of that to assuage his guilt about the countless beatings and methods of psychological torture he inflicted on me. Sort of like the Abu Ghraib soldiers who think what they did was okay because the people they tortured were probably terrorists.

I think that's why I'm obsessed with being the favorite uncle. He gets more face time with the neices and nephews, but if I visit for a few days I'm the favorite unlce by the time I leave. Whether that involves buying my nephew an iPod or playing tea party with my nieces and letting them put bows in my hair, there is nothing I won't stoop to beat him at it.

But anyway, as far as Moms go, she was a good one. She wasn't always perfect, but she did her best and she was definitely a better mother than I was a son.
Sooo..... Happy Mother's Day.

Friday, May 12, 2006

Notebook on Cities and Clothes

In case you were wondering what I was doing in Houston, I was there for a job interview. I won't mention why I'm thinking about leaving my current job because I don't want to get Dooced. But it was interesting being on my first interview in a while. Now that I actually have some marketable skillz it's completely different from when I graduated law school and was looking for work the way a band geek looks for a prom date. Now I'm the one holding the cards, especially since there aren't a lot of people with my skillz in Houston.

So they booked a flight and flew me out. The flight was coach, but I really wasn't expecting first class. When I got there, it was a different story though. They sent a limo to pic me up from the airport. The driver had a chauffeur hat and a sign that said "Home Improvement Ninja". Well, it had my real name actually. If it had the name of my blog I would've taken a picture of it. It wasn't a pretentious stretch limo like I'm a rap star, but a nice classy limo. Plus the driver had all his teeth. I'm pretty sure that costs extra in Houston.

Now, I shit you not. This is a statue of George Bush Senior in the airport. (not the other one). When I saw it, I thought he had a cape...like Superman. I thought "wow, they really do idolize that family, they even turned that weasel into a friggin' superhero."

Turns out that's a jacket, not a cape, and he's facing the "winds of change". Wow, the symbolism is just so...idiotic.

The hotel was nice, four starz.

I'm not crazy about the decor. That Rococco stuff makes it look like it belongs in a venetian whorehouse.

And what's up with the phone next to the toilet. Do people really make important phonecalls on the toilet?

"Hey Jimmy...guess where I am now? Wait I'll give you a clue...are you listening?"

I think I just threw up a little as I typed that.

The granite tile was nice though. Whoever laid it had some mad skillz. This is actually better than I could've done it. Those groutlines are flawless. I took my socks off and dragged my feets across the entire floor and only found a couple of places where you could noticably feel the transition from one tile to the other. Yes, this is how I spent my free time. No one ever accused me of being normal.

Houston was nice. It was more hot and humid than DC (and DC was built on a swamp). I'm seriously debating whether I should pursue this or not. Most of my family is in Florida, not Texas, but this could be a good gig for more money than I'm making now. Not a shitload more, but you can buy a whole house in Houston for less than it costs for a 1Br condo in DC. I'd have to finish up the ninja fortress QUICK and sell it if I wanted to take it though. I probably wouldn't lose money on it, but I don't think I would make much (if anything) either. All that work! Arrrrgh!!!

The one person I know in Houston said the company I interviewed at is a good company to work for and that a lot of lawyers in Houston would kill me to get that gig. But I also heard that, like L.A., they sometimes have road-rage shootouts on the highway, so apparently they kill people for a lot less in Houston.

The city is way more conservative than DC. I think everybody shops at Brooks Brothers or Jos. A. Banks or some other haven for the banal. The food was good and really nice restaurants charge what you would pay at mid-price restaurants in DC.

The job might also allow me to live overseas eventually. Which I always wanted, but I also always thought that if I left DC it would be for Florida to be closer to my family. Do I really want to make a detour that could be permanent?

Anyone have any ideas about this, or living in Houston in general?

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Where Am I?

Clue Number 1:

This is the view from my hotel window. I'm staying at the Hyatt, 'cuz that's how I roll, babay!

Clue Number 2:

This is what the tap water looks like where I am right now.

If it's got that many chemicals, drinking it can't be good for you, so I only used it to make coffee. I think I started hallucinating shortly afterwards.

I haven't decided what prize the winner will get yet. But it's probably something I have laying around the house...and no, first prize isn't a dead hooker.

Monday, May 08, 2006

Florida Trip: Part 2

Before you go any further, or farther, you should totally go read Part 1 of this opus otherwise one of the jokes won't make sense. In fact, it's probably the only part of the post that will make you laugh at loud, so should read Part 1 first otherwise when you get to the funny part you'll say something like "what an obscure reference. I've never known the ninja's humor to be so esoteric and self-referential, what gives?"

Have your read Part 1 yet? You lazy bastard! Oh well.

So during the plain ride I put my overpriced Kenneth Cole suede jacket in the overhead bin. Because it's too expensive and I have only worn it like twice, I was guarnteed to lose it sooner or later. Naturally, I forgot to take it with me when I left and didn't even notice I was missing it since I was in Florida and it was oppressively hot and humid outside...sorta' like a sauna, but without the disgusting old men with the disfiguring open heart surgery scars on their chest trying to make small talk with you. When I'm waiting for my ride, I hear "Home Improvement Ninja, please go the [airline] desk" over the intercom. What.The.Fudge? Then they repeat the announcement. I wrack my brain and can't recall any laws that I've violated on this flight, so I go inside to see what's going on. When I get there and see that someone's got my jacket. And he's wearing a uniform.

Let me take you on a little excursis before we go any further. Here is a random fact about me. I don't embarrass easily. Another random fact is that I don't eat olives...ever. But that's completely irrelevant to this to this story. When I say I don't embarrass easily, I mean it. I'm the guy who's not embarrassed to go to the store when his girlfriend runs out of tampons. I can order condoms from behind the counter and say stuff like "no, not the lambskin...the one next to it. Ribbed for her pleasure, 'cuz that's how I roll, baby". In fact, once when I got fired, errr, I "retroactively quit" a sucky job, my friends and I were out in Greenwich Village and my friend, who still worked at the sucky job, saw a shirt that said "Blow Me". He offered to buy the shirt and pay me $20 if I wore it to pick up my last check from the asshole manager. I said, "I'm unemployed and I don't give a shit. Gimme' $100 and I'll walk in with a shirt that says 'I Suck Cock.'" So I did wear it, earned the $20, got to see the look on the 70 year old manager's face and got to take a parting shot before I left. The old man had the nerve to tell me, dissaprovingly "young man, that shirt is very inappropriate!". So I said "what are you gonna' do about it? Fire me?" When he saw that everyone within earshot was laughing at him, he went and got my check and asked security to show me out. The security guard high-fived me on the way out.

Here is the actual shirt. I keep it around for sentimental value.

Easiest $20 I ever earned.

Now I don' t think that anyone over the age of 20 should walk around with an irreverent shirt. These shirts should only be worn by
  1. assholes in a fraternity;
  2. people who are too old to be in a fraternity, but not too old to be still be assholes.
What was the point of that story within' a story, you ask? Well, I asked the guy how they knew it was my jacket, and he said they found my e-ticket in the pocket.

Now, if you'll remember in Part 1 of this story when I took notes of all the weird book names I saw in the bookstore (like "Why Do Men Have Nipples?"). Well, I took those notes on the back of the e-ticket. The same e-ticket that this guy just read. So this guy who works in some kind of official capacity now knows my name, where I live, and thinks that I wonder why men have nipples and whether we can get pregnant. NOW I'm freakin' embarrassed. I don't want to end up on some no-fly watch list and have armed government thugs pointing guns at me and yelling things like "I'll cuff him, Smithers, but if he reaches for my man-nipples, shoot him!" Now, aren't you glad I mad you read Part 1?

An actual picture of a Federal agent trying to give a child a "Purple Nurple". In some parts of the country, this is often referred to, incorrectly, as a "Texas Titty Twister".

Well in case you're wondering the rest of the story is pretty weird too. After I meet up with my Dad and Bro, we go to the bank to get a cashier's check for the closing. A third of the people in the bank look like they're related to Larry the Cable Guy. Another third look like the Golden Girls, and the last third look like they failed the casting call for the Sopranos. I realize I'm in a bad TV show, but I just want to get my money and leave as quickly as possible...an hour and a half later and we are still there. The icing on the cake was the moron who was confused because my dad and I have the same first name.

[looking at the Id]

Cashier: Sir, this license looks nothing like you. The man in this photo has white hair.

Ninja: Yes, that's my dad, H. Repair Ninja. I'm H. Improvement Ninja. See, my I.D. is there too.

Cashier: But your ID says you're H.Ninja too. You're BOTH named H.Ninja?

Ninja: I realize that on your planet people don't name kids after their parents, but it's not that unusual, can we please move on.

Here is a pic of some cash. I don't why, but this is my favorite blog picture of all time. I think I got 50x more handsome when I dropped that bankroll in front of the bank teller. She was all up ons after that.

By the way, while we're waiting for the cashier my brother is standing in line with this wad in his hand. I told him "why don't you put that shit in your pocket, Rockefeller." I guess my brother never thinks someone would be dumb enough to try to take his money. He's probably right. My brother is really mean. I figured that out when we were kids and he used to pin me down, grab my wrists and make me punch myself in the face.

So we go to the closing and the seller couple is already there signing a stack of papers that is two inches thick. They had a baby with them and I complimented her on the kid (for some reason parents get very proud when they are complimented on their kids looks. It's as if they think there is some skill involved in the making of a cute kid rahter than random genetics. "Oh yeah, my wife and I screwed for weeks until we got the kid's ears right. My wife was in a hurry when we did the toes, but man, those ears are perfect...some of my best work.")

I should mention that I usually don't look at, play with or hold babies (except ones in my family). I like kids when they are 2-4 year olds, in fact being the favorite uncle to my neices and nephews is the one area where I feel that my brother can't hold a candle to me. But if they can't walk or interact I don't know what to do with them. I mean when a kid is older, if you drop them, you can give them candy to stop crying and the parents are none the wiser. But with a baby, the parents usually watch you like a hawk and if you drop them or something, man do they freak out. If the kid is related to you, at least you won't get sued for dropping them, but with some stranger's kid all bets are off.

Plus, the neck is really weird. It's usually not strong enough to hold up the head and the head is all floppy if you don't hold them right. And even if you do hold them right, they projectile vomit on you or poop on you. No thanks.

So anyway, I should mention that part of the reason I broke my usual "don't intereact with babies" rule was scientific. A friend of mine recently claimed that she has never seen an interracial baby that wasn't cute. Being the logical person that I am, I said that all babies of any kind are cute, but she swore that this was not the case. Since I wasn't exposed to other kids outside my own family (whose babies are freakishly good looking). I took a look at the kid to perform my own independant scientific analysis of the attractiveness of other babies that are not related to me. Good looking biracial kid = one point for my friend.

After the closing we went to Costco. It was my nephew's birthday and I needed to buy the kid an iPod because my quest to remain the favorite uncle for all my relatives at any cost knows no bounds. I had no idea they sell iPods there, but then again I never set foot in Costco. I live alone so anything I'd be able to buy in Costco would come in such a large size that I would be using it for the rest of my life. Since I am not sure if I like a product until I use it--and sometimes I'm not sure even afterwards--that seems like too much of a committment to make to something like toilet paper or mayonaise.

Costco was uneventful except that I saw what has to be the world's ugliest baby. Remember my friend who said that every biracial baby she ever saw was really cute? Well apparently this couple never got the memo. Maybe this kid is the exception that proves the rule. I don't know. All I know is I wish I had a camera phone so I could take a picture and send it to my friend and scare the bejeezus out of her. How two relatively normal looking people could produce a kid that ugly is beyond me. Big ears, bulging eyes. It looked like Gollum, with a jerry curl.

Like this, but with a Jerry Curl.

This confirms that the only sure fire way to absolutely guarantee that you will have a cute kid is to marry someone in my family or to adopt one from Vietnam. A lot of people say you can get cute babies from China, but those are just idiots who have never seen how cute a Vietnamese baby is. In fact, if you typed "ugly vietnamese baby" into Google, it would probably return some kind of error message. It might even crash your system...for studipity.

Actual cute Vietnamese baby.

In case you think making fun of an ugly baby is too low for me to stoop for the sake of comedy, let me say that I will stoop to any lengths for a cheap laugh, even shooting a kitten.

Laugh or the kitty gets it!

Okay, I'm getting tired of messing with Pix and typing, so there will be a Part 3. But in case you're wondering what the house looks like, here it is.

This is what the yard looks like...sweet. What kinda people mow their lawn before they sell you their house? My kinda' people! I'll buy that guy a beer next time I see him.

This is the second half of that double lot. The boat belongs to the previous owner. I'm glad he's taking it with them. If I had a boat like that, I'd be tempted to run for local office, kill my political opponents and use that boat to dump their bodies in the ocean. I know the everglades are closer and easier to dump the corpses of your enemies in, but I'm not so good with the mosquitos.

This a pic of the toolshed out back. This is actually one of my favorite parts of the house. The DC Ninja fortress doesn't have a yard so I can't have a tool shed. I bought some utility shelves for the basement, but it's just not the same thing. Having utility shelves instead of a tool shed is like going on a date with a girl you like and getting a kiss on the cheek at the end of the night. I mean, technically it's a kiss, and someday you might get something better, but for the foreseeable future, nothing but frustration and thawted passion fill your mind.

This is the kitchen. The cabinets are in good shape and we can probably get away with just changing the hardware. The stove and Fridge are new.

Here is a pic of the flooring I started in the MacGyver kitchen in DC. I don't know why I included it here.

This is what the house looks like. We're gonna close that carport off and turn it into a 3BR 2BA (currently it's 2BR 1Ba). The place is really nice, but only 800 sq ft so closing it off should help a lot and add about 400 sq ft more.

This is what a Dominican looks like.

Saturday, May 06, 2006

Driving in Cars With Kennedys

For those of you that don't like my random libertarian rants, stop reading now. You can get your fix of home improvement stuff and ninja news in a couple of days.

When my future daughter is old enough to go away to college, I'm going to warn her about the dangers of drinking, sex, and letting a Kennedy drive you home. It's bad enough that sloppy drunk Ted Kennedy killed someone with his drunk driving, but now his coke head nephew was driving, probably drunk, and wrecks his car, narrowly avoiding a parked cop car. He claimed he was on his way to congress to vote...at 3am. If you or I smashed up our car, smelled like a brewery and were walking wobbly, we would probably be arrested for DUI. So what does Pat Kennedy get? He gets the cops to chauffer him home without checking his blood alcohol level. After coke head Pat Kennedy blamed prescription drugs and martians, he is now checking himself into rehab. As a libertarian, when I hear of politicians getting special treatment and playing by a different set of rules it disgusts me, but doesn't surprise me. It's like when they tell you what they make hot dogs out of. You already knew you weren't going to like what you heard, but you listen anyway. So thanks for proving you're a weenie, Pat.

In other news CIA head and all-around low life Porter Goss has resigned. I think the timing is suspicious. After Duke Cunningham is convicted on corruption charges, we find out that a lobbyist provided hookers at the Watergate (yes THAT Watergate) to him and "a high level intelligence official". Porter Goss claims to have played poker at the Watergate with Duke and and the lobbyist, but claims that "no women" were there for prostitution. Hmmmmm? The Day after the prosecutor subpoenas the Watergate to find out who got what hookers, Porter Goss resigns. That sounds suspicious. If I were to guess, I think ole Porter looks like the kinda guy who likes Tranny hookers. You know..."chicks with dicks". I mean, look at the guy. He looks like the kinda guy who would frequent Tranny hookers and say something like "just because you have a wee wee, that doesn't mean I'm gay..I'm a republican, dammit!"

Okay, so in the spirit of bipartisanship, I mocked both Republicans and Dems. As a libertarian, I can do that. That's why you should all vote libertarian in the next election. If you don't vote for a libertarian next time, that means you condone drunken driving, tranny hookers and ummm, cannibalism. Yes, cannibalism! That's right, I went there.

Friday, May 05, 2006

Big Up

Thanks to whoever reads blogs at the Express (the readers digest version of the Washinton Post that they give you for free when you get on the metro at a hipster station). They mentioned my blog twice recently. Once in their online edition HERE.

and once in their print edition on Wednesday May 3, 2006. If anyone who's better at computers than me (yes, this means everyone except my grandmother) can send me a screencap or whatever of the May 3 one to homeimprovementninja[at]gmail.com so I can post it on here for vanity's sake, I would appreciate it.

In other news, I probably won't finish with Part 2 of the Florida post until Monday because I'm still bad at posting pics, I don't blog from work, and I don't like to work on the weekends. Actually, I'm not to keen on working during the week either, but I find that if you put a red pen behind your ear and stare at your computer while looking really focused, passersby are convinced that you are working on something vital.

Anyway, Part 2 is getting pretty long so there may be a Part 3. It's probably worth the wait though. Not in the way that Empire Strikes Back was worth the wait, but maybe in the way that Back to the Future 2 was worth it.

Thursday, May 04, 2006

Interest Rates and the DC Election

Well, I'm still working on Part 2 of the Florida post (I need to add pics). In the meantime, Here's something that's relevant to all homeowners and people who are thinking of buying. It's a music video parody lampooning Ben Bernake (Greenspan's successor). It was dones by some Columbia graduate students and it looks pretty professional. And it's actually pretty funny. In case you're wondering where Columbia econ students find the time to make professional quality video productions, they probably worked on it during all those dateless saturdays in the dorm. Let's be honest here, these guys are learing about finance. There's no girl in a bar that will ever tell these guys "tell me about inverted yield curves again...that gets me hot."

In other news, I am (for now) officially endorsing Adrian Fenty for Mayor of DC. Why? "Council member Adrian Fenty is promising not to raise taxes if elected mayor... he said he would fund new programs by reining in an inefficient bureaucracy and working with business leaders to identify savings within the city's $7 billion budget."

An official Ninja Fcuk you to the Vincent Orange campaign who said they want to "keep their options open" and the Linda Cropp campaign that said Fenty's move was "irresponsible". An income tax rate that is twice what it is in MD and VA (3 miles away) is what's irresponsible. Wanting to tax me even more instead of cutting your bloated payroll is irresponsible, asshat. DC has 3x as many city employees as Boston. You read that right. Linda Cropp is a proven moron. I don't know anyone that has driven by her idiotic "Think Cropp" signs and not done a double take because they thought it said "Think Crap". Do we really want someone like that as mayor.

I'm not crazy about Fenty, but here's why I'm voting for him:
  1. He's not taller than me. This shows he's a man of the people;
  2. He's vowing not to raise taxes; That's a big'un.
  3. He's bald (I'd like to have something to pick on when he eventually dissapoints. "You bald-headed donkey fcuker" see, it just rolls of the tongue. You can just hear me heckling him, can't you?).
  4. He came to Columbia Heights to campaign. He was handing out literature outside of my favorite overpriced Korean convenience store. (Mr. Kim says he won't vote for Fenty because he's too young...Fenty's too young; Mr. Kim is in his 60s).
Mari at In Shaw said this about Fenty. "I got nothing but love for that yummy bald headed cup of hot cocoa called Adrian Fenty." I do have bad news for her though. According to his campaing flyer, he's married with 2 kids. The good news is that he's a politician, and they usually don't take marriage vows very seriously.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Florida Trip: Part 1

Well, after work on friday I head down to National Airport to fly to florida for the closing on the house I'm buying with my brother and dad to fix up and flip. It's the best (read closest) airport for me to fly out from Plus it's metro accessible. The other airports (BWI and Dulles) have cheaper flights, but they are farther and I gotta' take a cab to get there (one day if I'm bored I'll finish the draft of the post I was working on titled "DC Cabbies: Scum of the Earth...or possibly lower").

Diet Coke of Evil claims there's two ways to tell a story. The short way and the long way. So DCOE style, here's what happened.

Short version: I flew down to Florida to do the closing on a house that I'm buying with my Dad and brother. It's a 2BR 1BA house that they want to expand into a 3BR 2BA(by closing up the carport) and sell for hopefully a lot of money. They needed my name to be on the title since my brother already owns 3 houses in his name and my dad's credit got screwed up in his recent divorce.

Long Version:

So I get to the airport and use this new e-check in. I got to pick my own seat, which was sweet. I inadvertently ended up sitting next to a fat russian guy who smelled like onions and whose rolls were spilling over into my seat. Which was not sweet. He had a portable DVD player with him and watched "The West Wing" reruns throughout the flight. If he hadn't been wearing headphones, I mighta been able to follow the plot. But I have seen the West Wing a couple of times and to be quite honest, it's better with no sound.

At the airport I went to the book store (Ollson's) to check out some of the book recommendations I had gotten from my imaginary friends on the interweb. I sometimes think about what I would do if I got bored with practicing law. And by "sometimes" I mean several hours a day. I decided that I could be a writer. There were so many books there and most of them looked/sounded crappy. I don't think I'll be the next Mark Twain, but I do think if I wrote a mediocre book it would be better than most of the stuff in that book store. Because I was bored and thought it would make a good blog entry, I wrote down some names of actual books I saw there. I think the key to getting published is to come up with a ridiculous title. They seem to fall into one of three categories.

Titles that ask idiotic questions:
Why Do Men Have Nipples? This was actually a NY Times bestseller. I don't know the answer, but if people will read a whole book about man nipples I think my writing will make me rich.
Are Men Necessary?For Maureen Dowd's sake I hope the answer is no. I feel bad for anyone that would end up married to this harpy. This was also a best seller, by the way.
Can a Guy Get Pregnant?I'm no doctor, but I don't think I'd have to be to write a book like this.

I think I could crank out a book like these a week.
Why We Don't Have Three Legs, By Tom Quixote
Does The Law of Gravity apply to Anarchists?, By Tom Quixote
Where Did I Put My Car Keys? By Tom Quixote (for those of you who can't wait 'till the book comes out, they are in your jacket pocket).

The Books Offering CommonSense "Wisdom".
Never Scratch a Tiger With a Short Stick This guy actually works giving speeches to corporations. Now I know that I should attend one of those motivational speaker gigs. I'll have blog material for weeks to come.
Sex With Kings Why is this Plural? Are there so many people having sex with multiple kings that they need to refer to a book for advice?
Your Cat's Just not That Into You . If even your cat doesn't like you, then I think you need more help than a book can give you.

My books of advice will have titles like:
Don't Eat the Yellow Snow, By Tom Quixote and maybe
101 Reasons Not to Set Fire to Your Genitals, By Tom Quixote and Evil Knievel.

By this stage in my career I'll have started co-authoring books.

The Books with Strange or Provocative Titles:
Sun Tzu Was a Sissy I bet the Sequel will be Genghis Khan was a Pussy.
The Dictionary of Corporate Bullshit "Corporate" is an important adjective, so you don't get it confused with the regular Dictionary of Bullshit.
The Sociopath Next Door I bet the guy he's talking about is Sudanese.
Not a Good Day to Die I agree with the premise. But some people apparently think that it is A Good Day to Die
The Best thing that Can Happen To a Croissant I think people are boring enough, do we have to read about the exlpoits of food items in a continental breakfast?

They were also selling a book by the Washingtonienne for 40% off. It's still overpriced. Because I'm good at math, I came up with a formula for deciding how much a book by a Congressional Aide that sold anal sex to low-level Bush appointees was worth.
Here it is:

Where X = the price of Washingtonienne's book,
(If X > $0 then the book is overpriced).

Tune in a couple of days for Part 2...or possibly Part 3 if this gets to be too long.

Monday, May 01, 2006

Heads up.

My camera is working again. So I'll have some pics to share soon...including an update on the Sudanese guy with the dirt in my driveway. In other news my computer is freaking out again. It's the same thing that was messed up before, so I gotta' take it back to Apple. Apparently when I prayed and told you-know-who that if my computer survived that I would start going to church again, he thought I meant it and is holding me to it. I mean, I intended to start going again to live up to my end of the bargain, it's just that I never really specified when. Apparently you-know-who thought that I would start going sometime in the next few months immediately after the promise. I haven't been to church in several years, so I don't see what his/her rush is. (I don't know if ominpotent beings bother to read blogs, but I don't mention him/her/it by name in case he/she/it is reading/listening/cosmically-sharing conciousness on here).

In other news, I went and came back from Florida over this weekend. So thanks for the book recommendations. I said I was leaving next week and left earlier so that anyone planning on stealing my kickass tools while I am away would be outsmarted by me; and thwarted. I've always liked the sound of the word "thwarted" and now I got to use it in a sentence; and I got to thrawt someone too. Sweet!

In case you're wondering what I was doing in Florida. I sorta bought a house. It's a long story, but I have some nice pics and seeing my brother again means I get to mock him a few more posts to mitigate some of the childhood trauma he inflicted on me. So that's coming in the next few days.

Also, to prevent family discord I ate a slice of pizza despite my lactose intolerance. (long story) It gave me really bad gas which sadly dissipated shortly before my encounter with airport security. That's too bad. I was being oppressed and flatulence was only available defense, so I was completely unarmed when I faced those fascists. I'll try to tell you about it next time and work in a libertarian rantlet about airport "security" and how the airlines are oppressing me. And the bookstores at the airport oppressed me to. Fcuking fascists!