Posts tagged ‘WODB’

Oh Really?

13 April, 2013 | | 2 Comments

Yeah, I know, I’m late on the ManFAQ.  It’s been busy around here, and I’m running out of questions anyway.  In the mean time, I thought most of you would appreciate this exchange.  

Merchant’s Tire and Auto of Springfield called me a few minutes ago about my car.  It’s happy fix the damn cars day here at the BUMD house, and in addition to the internal work the Blackfish needed, three different organizations had told me I need new tires, badly.  So, since they’re cheap when it comes to tires and within reasonable walking distance, Merchant’s Tire and Auto of Springfield is putting new tires on for me.  The phone rings:

BUMD:  Hello!
MT&A:  Hi, we’ve looked at your 2006 Outback, and it looks like you need some work.  The front left wheel bushing is cracked, and if that breaks your wheel could actually come loose while you’re driving.
BUMD:  Really?  Oh wow.
MT&A:  Yeah, your car looks like it’s never had a tune up.  Your spark plugs are rusting out, and you may want to replace some of the hoses.
BUMD:  Do you know, I’m REALLY surprised to hear that.  I mean, I picked it up from the Sheehy Subaru dealership in Springfield just this morning, after they did a 60,000 mile tune up on it, and you’d think they’d have noticed those things.  I drove it straight from there to your place for the tires.  I really don’t know much about cars, though – could those plugs have rusted out during that 6 mile drive? 
MT&A:  Oh, hold on – am I confusing your car with the other one?  I’m sorry, I’ve got two Subarus side by side in the docks, just one second while I double check that.
[Queue brief musical interlude]
MT&A:  Yeah, I totally had you mixed up with the other car.  Your car’s fine!  Sorry about that!
BUMD:  So, you’ll just be putting those tires on, then? 
MT&A:  Yeah, we’re going to put the tires on. 
BUMD:  Right then.

I can just see how someone could mix up two cars like that.  I’m $ure it happens all the time. 



Electric Elephants and Other Bad Ideas

16 March, 2013 | | 1 Comment

So there I was on a Saturday morning before the Mall opened, at the Mall.  As  usual, don’t ask.

Is there any place more soul destroying than a decrepit old mall?  If there is, it’s that mall before the doors open and the lights come on. As I walk past the run-down furniture store – and yes, they sell run-down furniture – the lights go up on the jewelry across the way, the furniture, the early morning dance studios.  The music starts slowly and the salespeople come to life like plastic automatons of some bygone horror film, the circuit is closed and the rusty sales force creaks to life, again.  This ancient mall is a palimpsest of stories, the hopes and dreams of sales and vendors and con men, written and crushed out and rewritten until the walls themselves can tell the stories, money, money, sell, sell, fail, fail, fail. We should accessorize our thirst, dance, relax, the walls tell us, beaconing us in, come in, buy something.

There are two massage parlors, open early, for the discriminating shopper to get their freak on in the early morning before the roving bands of stroller-toting exercise moms take over the halls.  There is a “D&D Security Training Academy,” which doesn’t seem to feature anywhere near as many swords or dice as you would guess.

They have anchor stores. Correct me if I’m wrong, but isn’t the purpose of an anchor to drag along the bottom and impede progress?  Right.  They have two of these.  I think this explains a lot, really.

There’s a store called Columbia Linens.  Columbia is the poetic name used for the female personification of the United States – there are 35 places in the US with Columbia in their names, along with at least 5 songs, a university, and the odd space electric-elephantsshuttle.  Linen, a textile made from flax, is valued for its marvelous coolness in hot weather.  In this store, Columbia Linens,  therefore, we should expect to find flax-based cloths that are either made in the US or printed with themes that might have something to do with the Americas.  Right?  No, of course not.  They don’t carry anything to do with the US, nor do they, in fact, sell linens.  Mostly they sell furniture of the Late Shitty period, and a lot of Far East knickknacks.  They do, however, have a display of Van de Graaff elephants, in front of a framed needlepoint rendition of Da Vinci’s Last Supper.

I mean, fucking electric elephants.  I’m sure someone asked their boss, “Hey, where the hell do I put this thing?” and got an answer of, “Um, put them in front of, Christ, I don’t know.”  Where else would you put them?

There’s a store called New York Fashion.  Here’s a pic.New York Fashion!

Now, I’ve been to New York City, and I don’t remember seeing anyone wearing this.  Maybe I didn’t get to the right part of New York.  I tend to think of this as Los Vegas Fashion, but what do I know?

I love the serial entrepreneurs as well. There’s a place called Eyebrow Designer 21. Me, I would probably have given up on this idea after the failure of Eyebrow Designer 8 or 9, but this guy perseveres. Good for him.

So, the mall.  In the end I outwaited them and accomplished what I came for, and possibly more than that.  After all, I now know where to pick up a steady supply of Van de Graaff elephants, which I can sell for a stiff mark up while wearing my New York Fashion go-go shorts.  What more could a guy ask for?



I am not Lev Levit

22 January, 2013 | | 6 Comments

I do not, as a rule, make flutes.  No one has ever introduced me at a dinner party as, “I’d like you to meet the Big Ugly Man Doll – he makes flutes.”  Doesn’t happen.  I can’t even whistle in key.  This is in stark contrast to my friend Lev, who does, in fact, make flutes.  Damn good ones. 

One of the most distinguishing of the differences between us, which are many, starting with his flutemaking company, is this:  deliberation.  Lev sits down to make a flute in a very deliberate and careful fashion.  He’s not an impulsive or “spur of the moment” or “well, that should fit” kind of guy when he’s making a flute.  Honestly, I expect he’s probably the same way when he’s doing something else, such as, oh, I don’t know, hanging a cabinet. 

Speaking of hanging cabinets, though, while it is also true that no one has ever introduced me at a dinner party as, “I’d like you to meet the Big Ugly Man Doll – he hangs cabinets,” I am more likely to find myself performing that activity than many others, such as, picking two at random, deep-frying whelks or making flutes.  In particular, I found myself just yesterday standing on a step stool, drill in one hand and cabinet in the other, exhorting and extolling Number One Son to continue holding said cabinet up while I screwed it to the wall.  Needless to say, there had been very deliberate and careful preparation beforehand; I do not hang cabinets in an impulsive or “spur of the moment” way.  You know, mostly. 

Having done this before, I knew to mark off the bottom of the cabinets and screw in a “set” bar, on which I could rest the cabinets while screwing them to the wall.  This is important when hanging reasonably heavy cabinets, and even more so when your primary assistant is a highly ADHD 12-year-old who can’t bench press anything heavier than a Nintento.   I also knew to mark – below where the set bar was, so you can see it – a notation about where the studs are.  To do this, I used a studfinder.  If you’re not familiar with this tool, it’s a small device that you hold up to your wall and drag slowly across until it screeches at you that there’s something interesting behind it.  Since safety is our middle name, it will also screech at you if that something interesting happens to be a live electrical current. 

So there I was, set bar in place, studs marked, with two cabinets hung on the wall and screwed to one another, when I realized four things in rapid succession: 

  1. The cabinet door was scraping the ceiling a little.
  2. The action of knocking said door down a little had just pulled both cabinets out of the wall.
  3. They were about to fall on my head.
  4. My highly ADHD assistant was nowhere to be found.

Thinking quickly, I held them up with one hand while groping for more screws with the other, and screwed one of the cabinets more fully into the wall.  I then unscrewed the other and took it down, for further work on the doors.  That’s when I really stepped in it.

Well, that’s not true.  That’s when I stepped in the puddle of water on the floor.  We had had some slight leakage the day before from the washing machine, and I panicked for a moment thinking it was still leaking – very much a problem, since it wasn’t running.  I took a paper towel and puddled up the water, and realized it was continuing to puddle out from the wall – the very wall to which I had just attached the first cabinet.  The very wall with the valve to the outside water supply on it. 

It was at this point that I was graced with the presence of more help, in the royal person of the Reigning Queen of Pink.  I showed her the water, and mentioned that I really hoped I hadn’t just put a screw through a water pipe behind the wall. 

“I really hope you have, Daddy!” says she.
“Why’s that?” I asked.
“Because if you didn’t, then what the hell’s leaking?” says she.

You know, that’s a smart kid.  Without further ado, I removed the first cabinet from the wall and took the keyhole saw to the wall, around the general location of the screw-holes I’d left.  Pulling away the drywall – dry no longer! – we saw the nice little hole I’d put right through the center of the pipe, and the nice little quiet stream of water as it made its wet little way to the floor.   So, when I’d really stepped in it was when I decided that my first screw (which had merely grazed the pipe) didn’t feel like it had sunk into the stud properly, and I’d placed a new screw just a little higher and to the right.  That one felt like it really grabbed something.  Oh, yes it had.

Definition:  Studfinder (noun), little beeping piece of shit very useful for finding water pipes behind drywall.  

My Flutes Are Not Pretty Things

My Flutes Are Not Pretty Things

I do not, as a rule, make flutes.  This is why.  It was exactly as I was taking some plumbers tape to wrap around the hole, just to make it stop flowing water to the ground, that the phone rang. 

The RQoP picked it up, on seeing that it was her mother SOBUMD, and by way of hello shouted, “Guess what?  Daddy really screwed up!”  Then, to me, “Can I tell her?” 

Thanks, kid.  I think you just have. 

SOBUMD had the presence of mind to get me to call neighbor Mike, instead of a plumber, since neighbor Mike can fix anything and usually accepts beer and thanks as currency.  Sure enough, Mike walked over with a sawzall, a blowtorch, and some plumbing stuff, and in a few moments we had a new pipe in the wall – and a new flute in the making.   

Close Up of Entrance and Exit Wounds

Close Up of Entrance and Exit Wounds

Here’s a close up of the through-and-through of my perfidious hole.  I’d grazed the pipe with the two screws in my set bar, and again with the first cabinet screw that I didn’t think had really hit the stud well enough.  For the sake of contrast, here’s what my friend Lev Levit’s flutes look like. 

What a Flute Should Look Like

What a Flute Should Look Like

So, lessons to be learned from this tale:  First, you can’t trust your studfinder.  Just cut a hole in the wall and look.  Second, a good flute will be made deliberately, not by accident.  If you’re in the market for a flute, ask the flutemaker if what they intended to make was, in fact, a flute.  If you find that you’re buying a flute from a guy who was trying to build a violin, or hang a cabinet, or install Windows 8 Pro, and he just happened to end up making a flute, you should probably call my friend Lev. 

He makes flutes on purpose.   


I am a Kimchi Chicken

27 September, 2012 | | 2 Comments

You need some background here.  Our nextdoor neighbors are wonderful and delightful, largely because they speak almost no English whatsoever and never bother anyone except to wave and smile.  They have two boys, grown and married, and since the boys don’t live there any more, and my command of Korean is limited to basic menu items, we don’t talk much.  (There are only so many social situations where it would be acceptable to greet someone with “Bibimbop!  Bulgogi jap-cha!  And a Coke!”) 

But we do see them, because they garden – beautifully, I should add.  This year, Mrs. Kim planted some kind of pumpkin-like vine next to our fence, and trained it along the fence from the middle of the yard all the way to the gate, probably 40 feet.  Despite all her work, it grew exactly one item – a large, long green and yellow thing that looks like a cross between a goose-neck pumpkin and a cricket bat – on my side of the fence. 

Now, there’ve been cucumbers and a few peppers that have grown through the fence, and I’ve made sure not to pick them; it’s easy enough for her to reach over for them, and they’re in plain sight.  This monster, despite its size, is hidden in the vines and undergrowth. 

I pointed it out to her a few weeks ago, making sure she knew that the Squash of Ages was growing there, and got some good smiles and head nods.  Yesterday I decided that I would remind her about it, since I have no idea when it should be cut and harvested – nor indeed what it is.  Putting thought to action, I grabbed SOBUMD’s iThingy, dialed up an English to Korean translator, and walked out the back door.  SOBUMD looked on in horror.

What???  This works on those ads on TV all the time!

I looked up a phrase in Korean that would adequately express the idea of “Don’t forget to harvest this large zucchini/pumpkin/thingy before we get a frost.”  It spit out something that to my untrained ear sounded suspiciously like “bibimbop with kimchi, bulgogi jap-cha, and a Coke.”  It then occurred to me just how many ways talking to my 60-something-yr-old Korean neighbor through an automated translator could go wrong.  Did I really want to risk telling her to grab her long thing and pull it, or worse?

I chickened out.  After pointing and waving and smiling some more, I came back inside and ran my would-be message of International Vegitable Cooperation back through a Korean to English app.  I would eventually have managed to tell her:  “Grasp the big Earl before he cuts you, then remember to seize the day! You are a very cold woman!” 

Probably best to just keep smiling and nodding.  Still, I hope she takes it home before it eats my fence.

I Am The 3.14159 Percent

17 October, 2011 | | 15 Comments
Occu Pi Wall St: I Am The 3.14159 Percent

Occu Pi Wall St: I Am The 3.14159 Percent

  • I’m the 3.14159 percent. 
  • I’m better educated than you are, and I’m a damn sight better looking.  I probably make more money than you do. 
  • But you know what?  I probably OWE more money than you do, too.  I’ve got debts no honest man can pay. 
  • Those who do not understand history are doomed to repeat it.  That’s also true of math.
  • Sure, you say you’re part of the 99%, unique and original, just like everybody else.  But you’re not really like 99% of Americans.  You know why?  Because you’re out protesting.  You got up.  You’re not in front of the TV.  You’re not sitting on the Great American Couch, watching it all on the news.  You’re certainly not like 99% of the country.
  • But you’re standing in front of buildings.  You’re blocking traffic, you’re picketing passersby and picking on museum guards.  You’re making news, but you’re not making change. 
  • Change starts with education.  Get one.  Got one?  Get more. 
  • The more you know, the more powerful you’ll become – individually and as a group. 
  • Those who do not understand history are doomed to repeat it; those who do not understand math and global economics are doomed to protest in vain, blamestorming to punish the past instead of brainstorming to fix the future.
  • Can’t afford a degree?  Get an education.  The Internet is your school.  Don’t have access to the Internet?  Go to the library.  Don’t have a library?  Vote.  Don’t have a candidate?  Run.  You’ve already proved you’ve got more energy to change the world than 99 percent of the country – be part of the 3.14159 Percent.  Be smart about it.  Go get ’em.
  • Tell them the Big Ugly Man Doll sent you.