Friday, April 28, 2006

I'm starting to realize how ridiculously disorganized I am. I've decided to get really organized I'm going to have to-do lists for all my stuff on the house and organize all my work stuff into folders...with little labels on everything.

I look around the fortress and realize that I'm a slob. There's papers everywhere and I can't find the proper tools when I need them (so I end up using a chisel as a screw driver). I could justify my slobbishness by saying that I'm busy or that I'm more of a big-picture person; but that would be a lie. My messiness and disorganization has more to do with sloth than lack of vision. I don't know how people get so organized that they can go to the gym with excel spreadsheets detailing their workout routines, but I want to be one of those people--except smarter and better looking, of course.

I have to take a flight next week, so I decided that I'm going to make lists for everything that I need done while I'm out of town, then, armed with these powerful new tools, I'll come back and finish everything and live happily ever afer. Well, that's the plan, anyway. So today will start to-do list day. That mean's I gotta measure the MacGyver kitchen to order some cabinets and start packing for my trip (these would be on the top of my paper to-do list, which is still in my head). Then I think I have to start prioritizing my projects around the fortress. Maybe the lack of prioritization is why I haven't been getting too much done around here. Either that or it's Netflix's fault.

Since I gotta catch a plane soon, anyone have any book suggestions? Please don't say "The DaVinci Code". Although I haven't read it, I take issue with people who recommend this book. How can you, with a straight face, recommend one of the most popular books ever written? That's like saying "have you tried peanut butter? 'cuz you should, it's delicious."
So anyway, does anyone have any *other* book suggestions?

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Gym Haterade

So I started going back to the gym. It's probaby a good stress reliever--I've been more edgy lately and it's causing me to be more acerbic than usual. I figured I need to either vent on my blog or go kick some puppies. So the blog it is. I guess that the weather has been nice for long enough that the usual sheep who crowd the gym after New Years resolutions or when the weather first starts getting nice are no longer there. But that doesn't keep some of the regulars from annoying me.

First of all, working out at the gym with Johnny Vegas is good because he knows how to keep you motivated when you want to quit.

Ninja: Are we done with biceps yet?

Johnny Vegas: Look at your biceps, they look done to you?

If everyone at the gym was like me or Johnny V, that would be okay...but they're not. There are other people at the gym which annoy me more than they should especially because of my bad mood. And here are the culprits:

OCD Guy. It doesn't bother me (much) that you sit there and fold your clothes like my grandmother. It doesn't bother me that you bring hangers to put your clothes away (actually, it does, but I'll pretend it doesn't). But what the fcuk is up with the shoe trees? Who brings shoe trees to the gym? Do you really think those Allen Edmonds knockoffs will deform and lose their shape if you don't keep them in shoe trees for the hour that you're going to be in the gym? If you weren't twice my size, I would beat you to death with those shoe trees.

Steroid guy. On behalf of everyone, Steroid Guy, let me tell you that you are not fooling anyone. No one has that many muscles. You've got muscles in places where most people don't even have places. Get off the roids, man. It'll shrink your pee pee and give you cancer. I know some guy probably kicked sand in your face when you were 11 and you swore you would get big and now you are so big and swollen that every shirt you wear looks like it belongs to your little brother, but it's time to let it go man. Besides, chicks don't dig guys with huge muscles and small pee pees...they dig libertarians, beeyotch! And in case you think you know who I am and want to kick my ass, just let me say that "I'm not him". I'm some other guy at a different gym and I was talking about some other roid-head with tiny genitals. No, Really.

Pale Freakishly Hairy Guy. Yes you, you freak. What the fcuk. Someone with pasty white skin and more hair on their back than I have on my chest should never ever wear a tank top...ever. And you need to start going to tanning booths and waxing your back. Haven't you ever seen an episode of Queer Eye? I don't know what your deal is, man. Maybe you're Turkish, maybe your part Sasquatch. I dunno. But this isn't a beach on the mediterranean, this is my gym, Chewbacca. I wish I was exaggerating how hairy this guy was, but he looked like the guy in this pic, except he was freakishly pale. Like all the guys in our IT dept.

BenchPress Addict. Listen up, muscle man. You know why you are hunched over and looked deformed? Because you need to work out ALL your muscles. If you work out your chest and arms, but not your back, then you look like the hunchback of Notre Dame's freaky cousin on steroids. Your chest and triceps are huge, but you have microscopic biceps and a huge gut. Not good, man; not good at all. And the chicken legs. Good god man, it's bad enough your upper body looks deformed but do SOME leg presses or lunges or something. You look like some deformed stickfigure some one made using an orange for the body and toothpicks for the legs. I don't go to the gym as often as I should, but whenever I do, you're always benchpressing. WHY are you always doing benchpresses? When I bench, you're benching; when I do cardio, you're benching; when I do legs, you're benching...etc. Stop with the fcuking bench! There are plenty of other machines, weights and exercises you can do. Try them. I know you're good at benching, how could you do it so much and not be good at it, but for the love of Moses, branch out a little and do some other muscle groups.

Black sock guy. You know I make fun of people in Florida when I see them in brown sandals with black socks. You know where black socks go? With black shoes. If you're going to commit a fashion crime by wearing dress socks with sneakers, at least have the decency to wear long pants so I don't have to witness those distracting fcuking socks when I'm trying to lift.

Big Shorts Guy. Listen carefully: If your shorts go past your knees, then they don't fit you, got it? The only way you could get away with shorts that are longer than your knees are if you are married to a pentecostal minister. Are you? Didn't think cut it out.

You know what shorts that go past your knees are called? They're called capri pants. And yes, that makes you a girl...wearing 1980s fashion. Are you still watching Pretty in Pink and the Breakfast Club, champ? What makes your fashion crime a capital punishment is that your ridiculous looking shorts have the logo for the school that beat my school in the NCAA tournament. Are you trying to get me to throw a dumbell at you? If so, keep it up. My school got taken out in the first round this year, but all our starters will be playing again next season. Next March I will mock you mercilously for your ridiculous shorts and the school that they came from...which I'm not even sure is a real college.

Little Shorts Guy. Yes, you. Those shorts may be okay if you had a career in 70s gay porn, but they are not appropriate for the gym. I don't want to do incline presses then look up and see some dude's underwear. It's freaky and disgusting. And I don't care how dirty your laundry is, you better keep wearing underwear. If you decide to go freeballing at the gym one day and I look up from the bench and see that I will throw a barbell at your head. Then I'll run, 'cuz you look like you're on steroids too.

Li'l Engine that Could. Look, man, no one walks around calling me "Stevie Strongman" or anything, but I know how much I can lift and I especially know how much I can't lift. You're not that big. If you're going to workout by yourself, then go with lighter weight. I don't like hearing you making sounds like you are giving birth when are working out next to me. And I don't even know you so, no, I don't want to "spot you for just one set" and I don't want to feel obligated to stop what I'm doing when you lift without a spotter and suddenly yelp "someone get this off me! help me please! Oh my trachea...I'm dying, please please don't let me die like this. I can't breathe, I think I'm dying!!!" Walk it off, like a man dammit!

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Even a little progress is good.

Eh' Not much progress this weekend. Lately I've been doing a lot of compund "mud" work so it doesn't lend it'self well to pics. Plus I've been unnecessarilly moody and acerbic lately so I haven't been motivated and getting as much done as I'd like. I'm going to vent on a post in a couple of days, but for now I'm in a pretty good mood because of something that I won't discuss on this blog--because it's not related to the house, ninja news or a libertarian rant.

But I do have a libertarian rant dealing with Milk that I'll post sometime this week. (yes, I'm such a champion of liberty that I can find oppression even in something as wholesome as milk).

Here are some pics of something I did before my camera broke. It's a thingy that I put in the MacGuyver Kitchen.

This is the top part

This is how it looked when I unpacked it. It's amazing how the Chinese can design and manufacture something like this, which is really heavy, ship it half-way around the world and still be able to sell it for less than $200. Man, no wonder they are kickin' our ass in world trade.

This is when I connected the legs

And here is the finished product. Mad skillz, yo!

I've been using this temporarily in the MacGuyver Kitchen so I can have a place to prep when I cook until I order some cabinets.

After I'm done with the cabinets I'll move this thing to the living room and set up a bar area (see, I can keep wine bottles underneath). Not that I'm a big drinker or anything, but if I have some pretentious hipsters over for a housewarming, it would be nice to have a place where I can keep all the bottles of hipster hooch and cheeses that I can't prounouce. I can just see myself saying things like "oh you should try the [cheese I can't prounounce" or "shiraz is the new pinot." NOT!

Actually, I'm more of a beer person. If you look in my fridge for something to drink, you'll find 6 kinds of beer, a few cans of coke and salad dressing. Maybe I'll move this thing out back where my grill is.

Here is the entrance to the MacGyver Kitchen. Yes, that plywood will soon be hardwood. [Insert eveil laugh here]

Sunday, April 23, 2006

Strange Work Habits

Wow, yesterday I got a record number of hits at my site because of the Washington Post article. I was secretly hoping for a bazillion hits, but my friend told me that's pretty unrealistic because 1) most people read the WaPo in paper form, not online; and 2) a "bazillion" is not even a real number.

Anyway, I bet some of you thought that I was kidding about doing electrical work in my boxer shorts. Well, before you go off and call me a pervert for manipulating my wiring while in my skivvies, cheak out this guy in california. He was doing wiring in the nude...and the guy who hired him came home early and caught him....HA!

April 21, 2006

Carpenter Who Works Naked Is Arrested

Filed at 3:43 p.m.

OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) -- A carpenter who keeps his clothes clean by working in the nude was arrested after a client returned home early and found him building bookcases in the buff.
Percy Honniball, 50, was charged with misdemeanor indecent exposure this week for the October

He told officers he stripped before crawling under the client's house to do electrical work because he didn't want to soil his clothes, police said.

Honniball said Thursday that working au naturel gave him a better range of motion and that a skilled craftsman can work clothing -- and injury -- free.

''In certain situations such as demolitions where you are smashing rock you want to be clothed and protected because this rock can harm you,'' he said.

Honniball was caught working naked in Berkeley three times in the last six years and put on
probation for violating a city ordinance.

Honniball says he doesn't plan to do work in his birthday suit again.Police said he apologized to the startled homeowner, but was fired. The homeowner paid Honniball for the finished work, but deducted $200.

''He kept out that amount to change his locks,'' Oakland Police Officer Jesse Grant said.

Saturday, April 22, 2006

Welcome Washington Postians...or Postiates!

If you're here today, you probably saw the article on housebloggers in the Washington Post (or the "WaPo" as we pretentious hipsters like to call it). The article also featured my interweb friends, at Nightmare on Elm Street. Be sure to check them out. If you want to read more houseblogs, click on the Houseblogs link on the sidebar.

Please feel free to have a look around, check out the archives if you like. Touch anything you like, but don't break it.

For those of you who have questions and are too impatient to read the entire blog, I figured some FAQs would be helpful.

Q: Are you really a ninja?
A: No. That's a joke. I explained it in my first post. In real life I'm a lawyer.

Q: Can I punch you in the face?
A: No. I told you, I'm not a ninja.

Q: Yeah, but I don't like lawyers, so I'd like to punch you in the face anyway.
A: First of all, that's not nice. Secondly, that's not even a question.

Q: I'm sorry? I won't do it again?
A: That's better.

Q: How did you learn about fixing stuff?
A: My dad, grandfather and most of my uncles were contractors so I learned a lot from working with them. The rest I picked up from the internet, trial and error and TV.

Q: If you think you're so good at it, why don't you do it for a living?
A: Working in an office pays better, doesn't tire you out, and I almost died on a construction site. So now I only work on my place.

Q: You're profile says your a derivatives lawyer, can you explain what that is?
A: Not really...It's pretty complicated and I'm not sure I understand it myself.

Q: Are you sure you won't let me punch you in the face?
A: Yes....errr, I mean "yes, I'm sure" not "yes, punch me"

Q: What's your blog about?
A: It's about 90% house stuff, and 5% Ninja News and 5% libertarian rants (which are my favorite).

Q: If you like libertarian rants so much, why isn't your entire blog about that?
A: My libertarian rants are so powerful that I have to water them down with ninja news and home repair advice. Trying to read a whole blog of my rants would be like trying to eat a bowl of beef bullion cubes.

Q: You're such a smart and handsome boy, but why don't you call your mother more often? I'm sure she worries about you? Would it kill you to call her once in a while and tell her how you are doing and what's going on in your life?
A: MOM! Quit it! I told you not to post things on my blog. I mean it! You're embarrasing me.

Q: Did you eat yet? You look hungry?
A: MOM! STOP! Stop right now!

Q: Can I leave comments on your blog or email you?
A: Yes. I don't mind. Just try not to cuss on my blog or use the word "negativity". I'm not sure it's even a real word, but it is really annoying.

Q: If I like your blog a lot can I stalk you?
A: No. If enough people want to do it, then I'll sell you the rights to do it for $19.95 (you have to add sales tax if you live in DC), but there's not enough interest yet.

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Green Building

I don't believe in "Green Building", "Socially Responsible Investing", "fair trade coffee," "fat-free margarine" or anything else that urban hipsters try to cram down my throat. Sometimes when I say "I don't believe in recycling" someone will challenge me on it and say something like "You don't want to help the environment?" And I'll try to get a rise out them by saying "No! Fcuk the environment. What did a tree ever do for me...and fcuk the whales and spotted owls too. Fcuking owls!"

But anyway, for those of you who don't hate trees as much as I do, I thought I would pass along some news that I lifted from the inshaw weblog. It turns out they are one of those re-use centers for construction materials. You know, where they take it out slowly and try to salvage it instead of taking it to the dump. Anyway, for those of you interested, here is the news item:

Subject: Grand Opening of new Recycled Construction Materials center

This could be a great new resource for those of you renovating houses:


Open 8am - 4pm, Thurs. - Sat.
301-904-7579 Cell / 301-985-5180 Office
4671 Tanglewood Drive, Edmonston, MD 20781

Grand Opening of Community Forklift - COOK-OUT AND DANCE
April 29, 2006

Have you checked out Community Forklift yet? We are the DC metro area's surplus, salvaged, and green building materials store - owned and operated by the nonprofit Sustainable Community Initiatives. You can donate building materials to receive a tax deduction, or buy new and used items at very low prices!

Our goals are to:
· Lift up communities by making repairs more affordable for homeowners, small businesses and community groups;

· Reduce construction waste, decreasing the demand for virgin materials and keeping reusable materials out of landfills and incinerators;

· Create career opportunities for local residents; and

· Educate the public about green building materials and methods, especially reuse.
It's time to celebrate our opening!

Please come to our party on April 29, 2006.

The Community Forklift store at 4671 Tanglewood Drive in Edmonston, MD (the Hyattsville area) Call 301-985-5180 or find detailed directions at

What & When:
Contests and Special Discounts
All day, Thurs. April 27 - Sat. April 29

Green Building Commerce Fair
Meet Local Businesses that Choose to Reuse - Fri. April 28 & Sat. April 29, 1-4 pm
Workshops for Do-It-Yourselfers

New Lives for Old Materials - Sat. To Be Announced

A Woman Did It - Sat. 12 pm
Kids' Activities

Green Games - Sat. 11 a.m.
Dollhouses for Little Treehuggers - Sat. 1-4 pm
Potluck and BBQ

Meat & Veggie - Sat. 4-8 pm

Blessing of the Green Builders Multi-Denominational - Sat. 5 pm

Dance, Reggae, & Old School with DJ Birdman - Sat. 5:30-8 pm

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Ninja Plumbing: Lesson 1

Since my Libertarian Rant didn't garner the attention I thought It would, I am deleting my planned rant against the 17th Amendment and government oppression and bringing you a plumbing post instead.

This post we'll discuss connecting copper to galvanized pipes. And maybe some soldering too, if I feel like it. First off, let me say that I HATE plumbing too. But, it's my least-impressive skill so I figured that the one silver lining of having fcuked up plumbing is that I would practice at my place so that I can tell plumbers that they are full of shit when they try to overcharge me on future projects. Knowing what you are doing is powerful mojo because plumbers, like predatory animals, can sense fear and will rip your wallet out of your ass if you show any weakness. Anyway, here are some tips I picked up along the way (from people who are good at it, or from trial and error).

Here is my way (a/k/a) the right way to work with solder. Bend the end of it to make it easier to work with. Since you are going to apply the solder to the far side of the joint, bending it like this will let you get behind it easier.

If it's a 3/4" pipe, make the little piece 3/4" long, plus a little more. That way you have enough solder for the joint, but not too much to over-solder it and make a mess. If you put too much solder, it will work, but you probably can't brag about it with pics at work.

Here is my basic plumbing kit. The most important things in there are probably the fire extinguisher (can't be too careful) the leather gloves (molten metal is not like moisturizer), the safety glasses (which I admit I don't always use because I never remember where I left them) and the heat shield (that black cloth). Sometimes I see people on TV solder without a heat shield. There's a word for people who use welding torches without a heat shield: Arsonists.

Always use a heat shield. In a pinch, you can use a crushed beer can (plenty of those around any construction site) or any other two layers of metal. (by the way, that's the hardwood floor that my brother and I put in...we rock!).

And here is how you reconnect a radiator (to copper pipes) if you, errrrr, I mean if someone accidentally breaks off a fitting inside.

So when I tried to take this fitting out, it broke inside somehow. I'm not really sure how it happened and I'm not here to point fingers, so let's leave it at that. To get the old fitting out, I cut the inside with a reciprocating saw (being careful not to cut the threads of the radiator) in a couple of places then banged the fitting with a hammer with a hammer to get it out.

Here is my trusty reciprocating saw. The second best $20 I ever spent.

I don't know why the pics got bigger all of a sudden. I know nothing about computers, so pretend they look normal sized.

Here is a simulation of me and "the persuader" getting the broken fitting out.

Be sure you put a rag inside the radiator before you start banging. If the pieces fall inside your radiator, then you got problems. It's not a radiator anymore, it's a gigantic paperweight.

Okay, here is what the piece that broke off looks like. The broken pieces are what was stuck inside the radiator.

Okay, so here is where I fixed that giant hole in the floor from my previous plumbing lesson. I capped off the radiator pipe, but mad it high enough to keep my options open when I reconnected the radiator.

This is a mini tubing cutter. You use this when a pipe is too close to the wall to use a regular tubing cutter. And put a rag on the floor in case there is any water there. I learned THAT the hard way...several times.

I put some wood under the radiator (in case the next owner wants to do away with the radiators, the floor underneath won't be scratched/damaged by the weight of the radiators.

then you line up the pipes you want to connect, mark them and cut them.

There are 3 ways to connect galvanized pipes to copper.
  1. Connecting the galvanized directly to copper: this works for a few years then you have leaks everywhere. Don't do it this way.
  2. Connecting galvanized directly to copper, but using a lot of teflon tape in between: actually, this works really well. The barrier between the copper and galvanized is about the same distance as in a di-electric union, so if I wasn't posting these pics to show off, I might do it this way.
  3. A di-electric union: This is a special fitting with a piece of plastic between the copper and galvanized. I don't like all. A lot of places (home depot) never have these and you gotta go all over town looking for them, and they usually never have the right size so you end up using a couple of extra copper/galvanized pieces on either size to get it down to the size you need. Adding more connections means more places where the pipes can leak.
  4. Using brass in between: Not only is brass nice looking, but it also works the best. Putting brass fittings between the copper and galvanized, will prevent the chemical reaction that causes the leak.

Here is the right way. Seeeeee, there is a black iron fitting (with lots a teflon tape) a brass fitting (with teflon tape) then a threaded copper soldered to the rest. The only thing to be careful of is that brass and copper are much softer than iron/steel, so don't over tighten it.

I didn't get any pics of the finished product before my camera broke, but I'll take some pics for the updates.

Monday, April 17, 2006

Ninja News: Episode 5

Profiling sucks. Stopping and harassing someone because they are black, or because they are dressed in black is just plain wrong.

Well todays ninja news is also a mild libertarian rant. It turns out that moronic government thugs with nothing better to do with your tax dollars than beating up a college kid for being dressed up as a ninja were at it recently. You can read about below. Between this and the Hurrican Katrina response, I'm not feeling really safe in their ability to protect the country from actual danger any time soon.
ATF rids Univ. of ninja threat

Published , April 12, 2006, 06:00:01 AM EDT

story image 1
This photo, taken by a student’s camera phone, shows ATF officials pinning down Jeremiah Ransom in front of Snelling dining hall. He was coming from a pirate vs. ninja event at the Wesley Foundation and was not arrested. (Kathleen Ruark | The Red & Black)

ATF agents are always on alert for anything suspicious — including ninjas.

Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearm agents, on campus Tuesday for Project Safe Neighborhoods training, detained a “suspicious individual” near the Georgia Center, University Police Chief Jimmy Williamson said.

Jeremiah Ransom, a sophomore from Macon, was leaving a Wesley Foundation pirate vs. ninja event when he was detained.

After being held in investigative detention, he was found to have violated no criminal laws and was not arrested.

“It was surreal,” Ransom said. “I was jogging from Wesley to Snelling when I heard someone yell ‘freeze.’”

Ransom said he thought a friend was playing a joke before he realized officers had guns drawn and pointed at him.

ATF agents had noticed Ransom’s suspicious behavior and clothing and gave chase, apprehending him, Williamson said.

“Agents noticed someone wearing a bandanna across the face and acting in a somewhat suspicious manner, peeping around the corner,” said ATF special agent in charge Vanessa McLemore.

Ransom was wearing black sweatpants and an athletic T-shirt with one red bandanna covering the bottom half of his face and another covering the top of his head, Williamson said.

“Seeing someone with something across the face, from a federal standpoint — that’s not right,” McLemore said, explaining why agents believed something to be amiss.

Agents noticed Ransom peering around a corner and said when police sirens sounded, he took off running.

After chasing Ransom and identifying themselves, ATF agents detained him, turning him over once University Police arrived, McLemore said.

Ransom said Williamson told him the incident should not have been handled in such a manner and he would file a complaint with the ATF.

“I was in shock, to say the least,” Ransom said.

Also, for no reason at all. Here is a tutorial on how to make a ninja mask from a tshirt. I think we should all walk around in ninja tshirt masks on friday in solidarity for our ninja brethren and to protest government oppression and profiling.

Sunday, April 16, 2006


Dammit! One of my bedrooms (the one that is closest to being finished) has no lights. So after doing some electrical detective work to get power to the outlets and switches and make sure I got power going to where I need the light to go, I tried to install the track lighting today.

(okay, I don't know what's up with the underlining, just pretend it isn't there).

I still didn't buy another camera, but this is what the lighting looks like. I guess it's cable lighting, not track lighting, but whatever it is, it looks pretty friggin' sweet.

I think I mentioned before that I had power going to the switch, but not the fixture. Last week I actually turned the power off before playing with electricity. This week I was ehhhh "more adventurous."

I switched out all the swithces/outlets from this kind

to this kind.

So I get the track lighting working and I wrap the switch in electical tape (technically not required by code, but I did it anyway, 'cuz that's how I roll, baby). I push it back in the box, then I hear a "pop". I take it back out, can't see where it could possibly be shorting, so I stick some more tape, stick it back in the box and "Pop" plus burning smell. Hmmmm? The wires look strong enough to handle it, so what gives?

Okay, it's kinda late and I don't think I should be working with live current anymore, so I'll wait for tomorrow to play detective. I don't want to work in the dark, but I think I should turn the power off. It was hot today and I was working in my boxer shorts and flip flops, but I'm worried about electrocuting myself and them finding my body like that. The cops will call my dad and tell him that I died doing electrical work in my underwear. He'll think I'm some kinda pervert. Actually, my whole family probably will think the same Dad can't keep a secret.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Libertarian Kool Aid

I mentioned previously that this blog is about my home repairs, random libertarian rants and ninja news. Since a ninja assassin broke my camera when I wasn't looking, and I don't have any ninja news, I guess it's time for a libertarian rant. This might get ugly, so stop reading if you don't like cuss words.

Since the immigration rallies have been in the news of late, this will be freakishly relevant.

I guess one of the issues that distinguishes real libertarians from a la carte libertarians (a/k/a libertarian poseurs) is their stand on immigration. It's what separates the people who attend the church from the ones who drink the Kool Aid.

I was going to title this post "Tom Tancredo is a scumbag". Partly because he is, in fact, a fascist scumbag, but also because if you know that I think Tom Tancredo is a scumbag (which he is) then you would know where I stand on immigration.

If you ever want to see me get worked up until the vein in my forehead starts throbbing, ask me about warantless wiretaps, the seventeenth amendment or immigration reform.

First of all, let's get something out of the way. Building a wall between the US and Mexico wouldn't have prevented the 9/11 attacks. The terrorists didn't sneak in through the border. They didn't have to, we gave them visas. Secondly, no one is talking about building a wall between the US and Canada. So is the real reason for a wall that you want to stop terrorists, or the darkies?

The rhetoric and name calling on the hill has gotten really bad. These fear-mongering rednecks on the government's payroll should be ashamed of themselves. The rhetoric got so bad that Sen. Pete Domenici (R-NM), got up and told them a story about his mother, who was an illegal alien and how he watched federal agents take her away when he was a child. This moved several republicans because when they referred to illegal aliens as criminals and lowlives, they obviously weren't referring to the Senator's mother...she is white, after all.

But it's easier to demonize people who look and speak differently even if they are law-abiding, pay taxes , and contribute to your economy.

One of my favorite economists* Steven Landsburg a few years ago had this to say:

"the Senator appears to subscribe to some bizarre notion that we should care more about total strangers who happen to reside in the United States than about total strangers who happen to reside elsewhere, and that if we can force those strangers to stay on one side of an imaginary line then we need have no concern for their welfare. I cannot imagine any reasonable moral principle that would justify such anotion.


If Senator Feinstein were, say, a principled libertarian, then she'd favor allowing people to live where they choose. If she were a principled egalitarian, her concern for the relatively fortunate Mexicans who have made it across the border would be dwarfed by her concern for their impoverished former neighbors still stranded on the other side. Only by having no principles at all can she simultaneously demand that we offer more to the fortunate few and less to the unfortunate many."

With the war in Iraq faltering, the economy petering out, and republican loyalists everywhere under indictment, it looks like the neo fascists were looking for a feel good distraction (like gay marriage or Terry Schiavo) to rally the mob around. I'm glad that this is backfiring on them.

As a kid growing up, my dad had pictures (plural!) of Reagan in the living room, and the quickest way to get kicked out of our house was to make a disparaging remark about Reagan or stare at my sister's tits. Most of my family are republicans, so that's why I am completely disgusted by the behavior and rhetoric of Tom Tancredo and fascist scumbags like him. You make me ashamed that I ever voted republican. Don't worry, I won't make that same mistake in the next election.

*Yes, I have favorite economists, because I AM that much of a geek. Check out my faves on the sidebar of this blog.

Monday, April 10, 2006

The MacGuyver Kitchen

Here's the MacGuyver Kitchen story I've been promising to you imaginary internet people. Complete with pics.

Does anyone remember that quintessentially '80s show, Macguyver? He was the guy who could fix anything, but only using the most-ridiculously inappropriate improvised parts and tools. He could make a bazooka out of a car muffler, some gas and a dirty rag and use it to stop evil-doeers that make Al Qaada look like boy scouts. (I'm not making this up, this was an actual episode).

Since the show was cancelled, someone had to pick up MacGuyver's slack. And recently it was my Dad. I mentioned that he, my brother and some other members of the ninja clan came up from Florida (the place old ninjas go to retire) for Christmas. Well, there is no kitchen at my place. I mean there is a stove and fridge, but everything else was ripped out (including the floor) during renovations. The floor was put back, but the cabinets, sink and dishwasher were not so lucky.

I was content to just eat out everyday while they were over (my treat). Having me pay for a restaurant for nine people every day for a week, however, seemed inconceivable to my old man. I think he still sees me as the kid who helped him on construction sites for $5 an hour. Maybe he doesn't realize how overpaid derivatives lawyers are compared other people who shuffle paper around aimlessly. I told him that it was no big deal. I had been without a kitchen for 9 months. This puzzled the old ninja even more.

Dad: How can you live for 9 months without a Kitchen?

Ninja: Eh...I just eat at restaurants or get takeout.

Dad: You've been eating at restaurants or getting takeout every day for 9 months?

Ninja: Dad, I've been eating takeout or restaurant food everyday for 6 years...what's your point?

Maybe he doesn't like to eat out? Maybe he thinks it's a waste of money. Whatever. The point was that he wasn't having it. This would not do. A stove must be connected and a sink installed. We would have a traditional Christmas dinner cooked on a stove using traditional recipes from the ninja ancestral homeland and that was that. Herb encrusted chicken from Whole Foods would not do. Overpriced tapas at Zatinya was for tourists.

So he gets to work rigging up a sink. He used an old laundry tub that I had disconnected from the basement to make more room so I could I turn the half bath into a full bath. The he connects the diswasher to the sink using a combination of actual plumbing fittings, duct tape, electrical tape and wires made by stripping romex cables. The scary thing is that it actually works perfectly.

I wish I could say that I haven't worked on the kitchen because he did such a good job on it that I have been complacent. But really, I have just been lazy. But enough is enough. I am converting the MacGuyver Kitchen into a real kitchen soon. MacGuyver Kitchen, your days are numbersed. I'm starting with the floor. The kitchen is about 100 square feet and somebody who shall remain me somehow overestimated the flooring for the living room and bedroom and I got 3.5 boxes (about 70 square feet) of hardwood flooring leftover. So guess what's going in the kitchen? If you guessed hardwood, you are correct.

I'll start measuring and laying out this weekend and call the people at the lumber place to get an extra box of the stuff (they still owe me money because I never got the transitions that I paid for when they delivered the stuff).

So anyway, I'll try to post some pics as I progress because I know how much everyone loves hard wood.

Update: someone snuck in and dropped my digital camera when I was looking. It happened when I was carrying some stuff into the MacGuyver kitchen. I didn't see anyone, so whoever did it has some mad stealth skillz! Now it's not working. So I gotta get another one. But I think there are a couple of pics that I downloaded before it was taken out by a shadow warrior.

Saturday, April 08, 2006

Weekend Plans

I was planning on catching the Cherry Blossoms again this weekend before they are gone. It looks like rain, so I'll have to rethink that. Luckily, I went last week and here is an obligatory blossom pic for my blog.

In case you are wondering, this isn't a professional pic. This is a pic that I took last weekend of the Cherry Blossoms. This raises the question: Is there anything that I am not awesome at? (besides english grammar syntax?).

In other news, my real estate broker, Jimmy The Greek, is coming by to assess the ninja fortress and tell me what needs to done, how much I could sell it for when it's finished, and how much if I sold it now as is and rid myself of this troublesome hobby. I can't stand most real estae brokers. I find them pushy, phony, arrogant and not very bright. But there are a few that don't suck, like my brother and Jimmy the Greek.

This weekend I'll also post some pics about the MacGuyver Kitchen and hopefully start on the floor there. Stay tuned...

Friday, April 07, 2006

Arlington Parking Nazis

Alright, so last week was pretty crappy as far as weeks go. If there was a crapitude scale, it would register pretty high as far as I'm concerned. Things are looking better though so I can finally talk about it without a profanity-laced tirade. There will be some profanity on here, because we're talking about parking nazis, so you might want to take the kiddies out the room for this post.

They say bad things come in 3s.

Incident 1) So the crapfest started on Monday. I was stressed out with the house renovations so I wanted to de-stress by going out and forgetting about the ninja fortress. The weight of the renovations is wearing on me and I reaaaaaallly needed a break. I went to Arlington for some salsa and got a friggin' parking ticket. My car registration sticker hadn't arrived from the Rainmen working the DC DMV so the Arlington Parking Nazis gave me a ticket for having a registration sticker that expired two days before. Two Days = $40. Fuckin' Nazis! Plus, the ticket says that if you want to contest the ticket and they decide that you still owe it, it's another $10. Arlington Fuckin'Parking Nazis, man! Then...the sticker comes in the mail on Friday. So the Nazis in Arlington give me a ticket because they morons in DC didn't mail me my registration on time. Bureaucartic oversight or government conspiracy? I'm just sayin...

Everyone is talking about how idiotic DC is for deploying cops to touristy areas to give out jaywalking tickets instead of sending them to high-crime areas to catch people who shoot people in the face. Now, there are no people in Arlington who shoot people in the face--Arlington is pretty BradyBunch-ish but I'm sure the broke-dick members of Arlington's Finest could find a real criminal if they really tried. But nooooo, while real crimes are being committed by sociopaths, they're out giving law-abiding people like me parking tickets. Perhaps he hasn't heard of me and didn't know about my recent victory over totalarian cops. Or perhaps he doesn't read my blog and doesn't realize that someone up there likes me and that I'm on the side of the angels.

No matter, Arlington Cops are barely even real cops. Unlike real cops in places like NY, LA and Chicago who deal with actual criminals, Arlington cops are overpaid, underworked nobodys in a DC suburb who have nothing better to do than to take out their frustations over a wasted career on unsuspecting motorists. Outside one of the most powerfull cities in the world, where history is being made everyday, these guys are the meter maids.

Well, you know what, traffic cop, nazi? You probably can't manage an erection with your wife and she, like the wife of every traffic cop, fantasizes about makin' it with a derivatives lawyer. What do you think of that, bitch?

Incident 2) I'm trying not be one of those blogs that talks about everything. This won't be a blog about what I had for breakfast or what happened on American Idol. There's plenty of blogs that talk about stuff like that so if that's what you're looking for, there's plenty of places for that, and most of them suck. This blog is about my home repairs, random libertarian rants, and ninja news...period. Therefore, crappy incident number 2 will not be discussed, but it is crappy...and it's not related to American Idol.

Incident 3) So around tuesday/wednesday I was thinking. It comes in 3s, what's next? I'm waitin' for the last shoe to drop and I get a call that my nephew is in the hospital. Appendicitis. Crap! At least it's one of those organs that you don't even need. So I call the kid and tell him that I'm gettin' him somethin' nice. I ask him what he wants and he says "Cash". What a capitalist! Gotta' love that kid. I tell the kid that cash ain't happenin'and to tell me something he wants he says

Nephew: How about a car?

Ninja: What? No'll kill someone. How about a gun? Guns are cool!

Nephew: Don't guns kill people?

Ninja: What are you, a communist or something?

So if anyone has ideas on what to get a kid that just got his appendix out, let me know. Ideally, it should be something a teenager likes that will piss his parents off.

Anyway, I've been pretty pissed off all week, but things started turning around. I hit the Lottery on Friday...I won $4. That's 1/3 of a pomegranate martini at a DC hipster bar, but more importantly, it's a sign that good luck is coming. Then, something related to Incident Number 2) happened on Saturday. Again, I won't go into it, but I'm pretty happy about it. Not happy enough to stop hating nazis or anything, but pretty happy nonetheless. So put that in your pipe and smoke it, Parking Nazi!

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Coming Soon...

Well, hopefully this week I'll be able to tell you about the Arlington Parking Nazis and I'm going to start working on the floor in the MacGuyver kitchen. I've been a little swamped with paperwork so the repairs/blogging have suffered. The MacGuyver Kitchen needs some explanation, so hopefully I'll finish uploading the pics and then I can explain it properly.

In the meantime, if any of you know someone who gives out parking tickets in Arlington, kick them in the nuts and tell them the Ninja says hello.

I Really Need a Digital Camera Phone

Every time I encounter something photo-worthy, I never have a camera around. Since my cell phone contract expired I think I should get a camera phone so that stuff like what happened on saturday will be recorded for posterity. What happened Saturday?

Hmmm, well, it's like this. One of the things that you occassionally run into in gentrifying neighborhoods is a colorful local character called a crackhead. This is one of the reasons that I wish my up-and-coming neighborhood would hurry up and get there. Eff the morons who bemoan gentrification, the sooner Columbia Heights looks like Bethesda, with it's clean streets, ubiquitous chain restaurants and banal fashion stores, the better.

So I see this Ford Taurus parked behind the Sudanese Guy's place (of course, blocking my driveway). Initially I thought it was a contractor, but when I looked closer, I figured out it wasn't a contractor.
  1. The guy was driving a Ford Taurus, not a van or pickup truck;
  2. The guy was black, not latino (the sudanese guy only hires--then doesn't pay--latinos);
  3. The guy was wearing a sports jersey, not a Carhart coat;
  4. He was aimlessly pacing back and forth;
  5. He was really skinny (didn't look like the manual labor type)
I fugured he was a crackhead, since crackdealers don't work alone, so I washed my hands and went out there. I washed my hands because he was a crackhead. I didn't want to have compound/paint on me because I didn't want him knowing I was doing work there. If a crackhead knows your working then his brain goes like this:

Work = Tools; Tools = Money; Money = Crack...let's comeback later and steal something.

Now, I know I shoulda' called the cops because I don't want to lose my temper again, but the libertarian in me can't help trying to solve problems without involving the government (aka The Man). So as I approach, I see the guy is talking to himself. At first I thought he was on a hands free phone, but no, he was talking to himself. I also noticed that his eyes were dialated, the guy was on something. I'm guessing crack, but I'm not a connoisseur of illegal narcotics, so I wasn't really sure what he was on. In actually, I don't care if he was on friggin' fairy dust, I just wanted him out of my driveway.

Ninja: Hey man, can I help you with somethin'?

Crackhead: No...I'm just here prayin'

Ninja: Alright. But this here is a driveway; maybe you should get to a church;

Crackhead: I didn't mean to bother nobody, I just needed to pray 'cuz I've done bad things in my life

[at this point I notice that his car has a screwdriver instead of a key in the ignition, so I think the bad things he's referring to were fairly 15 minutes ago]

Ninja: Alright then. Finish up your prayer, say an Amen, then you gotta' go. This here's a driveway, man. I got shit to do that involves movin' my car, you feel me? (I used some hipster lingo that I picked up on MTV...oh those wacky kids and their street lingo).

Then our crackfriend finished his prayer, got into his car and left. I yelled at a wino the same day who was crawling over the dirt pile to get to his friend's house.

Gentrification! Gentrification! Hurry up!

Saturday, April 01, 2006


Okay, since I have Monday off I'm expecting to get some work done this weekend. In the meantime, I'm trying to find a hardcopy of a big article that the Washington Post wrote about Columbia Heights (the neighborhood where the ninja fortress may or may not be located). For some reason it's not in their online edition, but they said good things about my hood, which means my master plan to sell the fortress for one meeelyun dollars and laugh all the way to the bank is incrementally more likely now. You hear that, potential buyers? Anyway, if I don't post it online in a day or two, I'll take a pic of the article and post it (I don't know how to use a scanner, so don't even ask). If anyone has a link to the article, please email it to me. I won't pay you money for it, but on your deathbed, you will achieve total conciousness, so you'll have that going for you...

I'll try to take pics of my work this weekend and post them. I also may or may not post something about the Arlington Parking Nazis (aka, The Man) and their efforts to oppress me (aka the workin' man). I tried to sit down and write it calmly, but it seems to quickly degerate into an obscenity-laced tirade ending in "feel my rage, bitches!" So I'll try to keep it family friendly.