Thursday, September 27, 2007

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

internet's out

Rather than run the coax along the eave of my house with the other wires, the cable company ran it around the perimeter of the roof of my covered patio. Well, it was tucked away so neatly that I had not forseen the ensuing havoc it would wreak on my internet connection when I tore the patio down last weekend. I didn't care too much, for I don't need internet access at home for much other than to check emails, manage my fantasy football team, and play the occasional online game with friends; however, the damage is such that I was unable to repair it (despite a labored attempt after the rain had passed last night), so I am forced to pay the cable company (who, in my opinion, are truly at fault) to make a visit and fix the problem.

Sometimes I wish Al Gore would've just made the entire internet wireless.

And free.

And green.

And accessible through the use of nothing but the human brain.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Like Bill like Hill

It looks like Norman Hsu, a wealthy New Yorker, has possibly been funneling donations to Hillary Clinton's campaign through a middle-class Californian family - the Paws. (Read the article here.) Remembering some of Bill's unethical fund-raising, I can't say I'm surprised.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

project 1

In the near future, I'll hopefully be chronicling a few projects that I'd like to do. This is the first: a hollowed out book. I started with this Physician's Desk Reference that I picked up for a couple of bucks at the Goodwill:

I measured a half-inch from the edge of the pages and started going to work with an exacto knife.

It took a few minutes here and there in the evenings, but I eventually got it finished. As you can tell from the following picture, my edges are a little rough. I think this was due to a combination of my technique and my quickly dulling blades.

After all the cutting was done, I glued the back cover on, mixed some Elmer's glue with water (1:1), and soaked the inside of the pages. That allows for the book to solidify, but when it's closed, the pages can still be minimally thumbed so as to appear normal. Now all I have to do is find something worth hiding in here.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

my near-death experience

When I was 20, I worked for a painting company in Phoenix. We basically were contracted by apartment buildings to white-wash the walls of their units when tenants left. It was a small outfit owned by an ex-girlfriend’s older brother. I think he was about 26 at the time. There were only 5 or 6 of us, all in our twenties, and I was the new guy. I’d been working there about a week when, unbeknownst to me, they decided that I needed an initiation.

Winter mornings are cold in the desert, and this morning was no exception. I showed up at my first appointment for the day – a second floor, 2 bedroom in downtown Phoenix. I walked into the apartment with my equipment and was about to survey the place when I heard a sudden commotion behind me. I spun around in time to see my colleagues rushing toward me from the nearby bedroom. They tackled me face first on the carpet and pinned me down. I fought as hard as I could, but there were four guys, all bigger and older than me, intent on submitting me. All my struggling merely earned rug burns on my face, arms, and knees. My wrists and arms were soon rope-burned as they hastily tied my hands behind my back. My ankles were then tightly wrapped with the same nylon cord, and I was hoisted up on their shoulders like a spitted pig. They headed out into the cold morning air, and started down the stairs. I struggled a little, but soon realized that if they dropped me here, on the cement stairs, I’d probably break something.

Once we were down on the grass, I resumed my struggling. I managed to kick my shoes off, as well as most of the rope that bound my ankles together. It was then that I spotted our destination: the dormant swimming pool near the center of the property. I struggled harder and managed to get dropped on the grass a time or two, but they were resolute in their intentions, and plucked me back up each time. The opened the metal gate and I knew that my resistance was futile. Two seconds later I was face down in the icy water. It was colder than I’d imagined it would be, and I was still for a moment as the initial shock wore off. I tried to stand, but quickly realized that I couldn’t move very efficiently under the water…especially with my hands tied behind my back. I never realized how essential your arms are to righting yourself underwater. I tried rolling to get my head up, but I was still under the surface. Now I was getting scared. I kicked my legs repeatedly trying to get my body upright, but I couldn’t quite touch the bottom of the pool and my body kept leveling back out. I kept kicking, and just as I began to think that I was going to drown in an income-restricted, moderately-priced apartment complex’s pool in downtown Phoenix, I finally got a toe-hold on the bottom. I quickly righted myself, pushed myself upward, and gulped the fresh air as I broke the surface of the water. I worked my way to the shallow end as the guys rushed over to help me. The grins and smirks were gone and they all looked genuinely scared as they cut my hands free. I lay down on the cold cement for awhile catching my breath. The group’s trepidation was soon displaced by nervous laughter and concerned sentiments:

“I guess that wasn’t too smart, huh, Phil?”
“It was Jeremiah’s idea.”
“Well, I’m glad you didn’t drown, because I really didn’t want to jump into that cold water after you!”
“Well, this was better than the other ideas we had for you!”

I picked up my shoes as we headed back toward the apartment. Once inside, I stripped down to my underwear and threw all my clothes into the dryer. The one good thing about this “initiation” was the fact that Jeremiah (my boss) had brought Krispy Kreme donuts and orange juice. As we ate, I learned of two other brilliant ideas that they’d had in case this one didn’t work. They had thought about tying me up in a similar fashion, tossing me into the back of a pickup, and then racing around an empty parking lot somewhere. Their other idea also had me tied up in said fashion, only with an extra length of rope wrapped around my chest and under my arms. This rope they would tie to a third floor apartment railing, and then dump me over the side leaving me to hang for a while. Of the three plans, I thought this to be the worst by far, with the pool toss coming as a close second.

I finished eating and checked on my clothes. Still wet. Everyone left to start their days as I broke out the paint and started working. By the time I finished, my clothes had dried, so I got dressed, packed up my things, and headed to the next apartment.