Thursday, October 31, 2013

Curiosity Killed the Computer

Um, so apparently, if you put words like 'gold' with words like 'toilet' in a blog post, some very ...fetishy... websites come and take a gander at your blog.

Glad I got curious about the address when the smalls were at school!

I swear I wasn't curious more than once...

And how appropriate that this is the 69th blog post...

Monday, October 28, 2013

McCrory's Gold Toilet

Family dinners at my mom's house are rarely peaceful occasions.  That's not saying they aren't fun, just very loud and usually have arguments about either religion, race or politics that punctuate themselves throughout the evening.

Last night we were happily arguing about politics and race, letting religion lie for the moment.

...that's funny in itself, religion...lie.... hmmmm

Because we are in North Carolina, a state that is quite an embarrassment right now, the 'conversation' was pretty much one sided.  Mostly, we all agree that McCrory, the douche Governor, is a moron.  Add to that the fact that my family produces teachers like retirement communities produce herpes, there is very little love for the conservative bone heads in the state legislature.  But because no conversation can become an enjoyable argument without the consenting view, we have a token republican.  We also have a slathering of normal conservatives, intelligent liberals and even a few that would be considered an ugly experiment child between a socialist and a libertarian.  Mix all of us together, and there is a tv show in the works.

So the argument got exciting when our token, concealed weapon toting, right winger defended the Governor and his right to spend over 200k to refurbish the bathrooms in the governors mansion.  ...when the state can't afford teacher assistants, or teacher raises.  Teachers didn't get a raise last year.  We are near the bottom of teacher pay in our 50 states. 45th.  So indeed, let's put in 9 new bathrooms, and don't forget the bidets or adding flecks of gold to the toilet seats.  ...turns out, the all mighty Governor decided it was not such a great idea (after we the people found out what he was going to do), so the bathroom renovations are not going to happen on taxpayer money.  But that didn't alter the probability of a nice and heated conversation.  In fact, it makes it that much more fun.  Since it is all in our imagination, we can add points to bolster our point of view that have no hooks in reality.  Like the fact that he only uses two bathrooms, and the others already have gold in the seats, so really it would only cost 2k per bathroom for mold removal and a bidet.  And he should have to pay for the refurbishment himself, because the mold in the bathroom is there because the Governor doesn't aim well.

If you go to his place for Halloween, don't ask to use the loo.

After we thoroughly ran his name through the poo, ahem, we moved on to this...

The relationship between the 'n' word and the 'g' word.

Now, I know you are all scratching your heads thinking 'g' word?'  And I know that not one person will question what 'n' word I am talking about.  There really are only a few words that are referred to by their first initial; the N word, the F word, and the C word.  So where does 'g' fit in?

My mom's side of the family has pretty deep ties to Ireland.  I think my grandmother was second generation American, which is to say, all American.  But there are those that cling to their family history.  I think that's because when you think of 'American', you picture either a fat white man in socks and sandals with a sunburn and a huge camera strapped around his neck.... or you think of pompous white men in curly white wigs.  Either way, uncool.  So we hold tight to anything in our past that is interesting.  So the women on my mom's side have held tight to being Irish.  They even have the red hair and light complexion to boot.  I was left out of the interesting trait group, with mousy brownish blondish hair, so I guess my knickers don't get in as much of a twist when I hear the term 'ginger.'  Yup, the 'g' word.

Well, the conversation came up when one of the family related a story in which she was asked by a customer if being a ginger was natural.  In a not so nice way, I should add.  I thought that the insult was more because it was sexually derogative in nature, she felt that the word ginger was the insulting piece, and compared it to being called an 'n' word if you were black.

This is when my white guilt kicked in.  I argued that it did not have the same connotation, at least in America.  I also argued that there are probably more Americans that don't know what 'ginger' would be referring to than do know.  That's when I learned that South Park, the hilariously rude cartoon that I haven't watched for 15+ years, throws ginger insults daily.  But really, I have no place to talk, or argue.  I'm about the least minoritish person on the planet.  I'm average in about any test there is for figuring minority status.  Sometimes I wish I were black, mostly for the hair, or gay, hair again.  Because there isn't much out there for a white, blondish brownish, blueish eyed American girl to get angry about.  I missed the womens lib movement, war protests, and being able to be one of the white roadies with the Black Panthers.  Maybe that's why I get so emotional when my kids won't eat the Indian dinner I cooked.  'There are starving babies in India that would eat our dog food, so be happy with this dinner!!!!' I yell, steam screaming out of my ears.  Because I have nothing holding me back.  The world is my oyster, and I'm pissed that I know that.

I envy the women in Saudi Arabia that get to throw caution to the wind, possibly doing damage to their ovaries, and drive a car.  Women in Afghanistan that have to fight for rights to be educated.  Women in India that have to unite with each other for the safety to walk down the street.  I often wonder why the conscious that is me ended up in this body, in America, part of this wonderfully crazy family.  I have to be reminded, more than should be normal, that I am not actually a black girl, that I am just another white girl with white privilege, so what exactly do I have to be angry about.


But maybe that's ok.  Because I know how stinking lucky I am.  I have a house, a car, an education, a family that loves me and won't ever think about selling me, no matter how much my crazy comes out.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Coercion Isn't All Bad

You know what's hard to do?  It's hard to get people to do what YOU want them to do, rather than what THEY want to do.

I'm trying to recruit people to volunteer at a super duper fun race next weekend.  The only people that have said yes, so far, are those that I bribed with the ability to kiss some strategically placed butts that could lead to a possible job opportunity.  Pie in the sky, but they don't know that....

I need to take some lessons from others that know how to get people to do unsavory things.

I'm breaking down the skill set needed for this ability and so far I've realized that the most important attribute to have when getting people to do things they don't want to do is FEAR.  Or being fearsome, but 'fearsome' didn't sound right in the first sentence, even though fearsome is an attribute and fear is what happens when you are fearsome, but you get the point.

Seriously.  Think about the reasons you have done things that you don't want to do... Stay up late to get the paper done = you will get a decent grade, thus avoiding a butt chewing by the parents.  Stop smoking = fear of your lungs looking like the specimen that the scientist brought to your class in 10th grade. ...on a side note, they should have brought the blackened lungs to my class in 5th grade, might have made a difference.  And the best example of persuasion via fear tactics is the military.  Really.  A big guy send an order and a bigger guy tells you to go into a battle where there is a good chance you will return missing a part of your body and you do it without question! = the bigger guy won't stomp you into bits and feed you to your brothers and sisters in the unit, who will in turn eat your bits in fear of the bigger guy doing the same to them.  All of these accomplishments brought to us by the word FEAR.  I have to get a handle on being scary.

I looked up 'the art of persuasion', and there were a lot of points about how to be persuasive without being scary, but I think that's bogus.  I get it if you can schmooze your way into getting your coworker to make the copies for you, but that's in a face to face situation.  I'm doing this as a call for help to the people of my little world.  The facebook people really.  And I am one of those facebookers that delete contacts at a whim, so my contact list has dwindled.  For my part, those that I have deleted would never help at a race anyway, so maybe I should clear out the rest.  But then I'd have two friends left, and that would hurt my self esteem, and I don't like being pouty.

So I started looking up other ways to get people to do things that I want them to do.  Then I checked craigslist, because that is filled with things that others want you to do, namely, buy their leftover crap.  And I got sucked into the vortex that is Craigslist.  Now I still have no idea how to get people to help out at this race, and it appears that I may have bought a boat.  It's a nice boat, with a cabin in the front end that is like the little closet you make into forts when you are kids.  The engine on the back runs good, or so the add says.  I was taken aback slightly at the mention of it running 'good' because my mom and all the other women in that side of the family were English teachers, and it runs WELL.  Batman does good, we do well. (I stole that batman line from somewhere else,not sure where the else is, but it's brilliant, so there)  I let the language slide, because the boat is beautiful.  Now I have to think of a name for him.  I say Him, because everyone always thinks a boat is a girl, and that's dumb.  The ocean is the girl.  It creates life, and it is always warm and wet.  The boat is the hard piece of wood that split the calm water in two and pushes through. Is your mind blown?

Now, if I can only get Craig to ask people to volunteer for the race.

Maybe he can make another list.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Camp Chair - Bike Trailer Transformer

This blog post is more on the serious side, and it is actually about a certain thing instead of just a jumble of crap that fell out of my brain.

Sorry.  But on the plus side, you might learn something. 

Suddenly, wonderfully, and hopefully temporarily, I have found myself out of a job, free of school, and eager to drive less.  ...I'm actually not hoping the need to drive less is temporary, but who's trying to kid who?  If the next step lasts even a month, I will be impressed.  

In between the chaos that is mornings before school, and the slogging away the afternoon after school, I have 8, EIGHT hours of empty space in my day.  Ever since I decided to stay home to raise my kids, I've done things.  I've had part time jobs, volunteer jobs, classes toward future endeavors, classes for fun, and one or two children to care for on top of caring for my own.

This is the first time, thanks to my youngest in kindergarten, that I have found the empty.  I'm looking for a full time job, but in the mean time, I have freed myself.

And this is what I have done in my free time this week... I made a bike trailer out of a camp chair.  And you can too!  As long as you are super comfortable with dumpster diving, you can create anything for free!!  I even knicked all the information for the trailer from this site.  I changed some of the hitch bits to fit my fancy, but many thanks to Gene Williams for the tutorial.

I found a rotten camp chair that was left near the trash bins at the soccer fields.  

 Then I took the ripped fabric off and drilled out the rivets holding all of the conduit bars together.  I tried to pry them apart with a pocket knife while watching my daughter play soccer, but apparently, knives being pulled out during soccer games are not looked upon with favor.  So just wait until you get home.



After I figured out the shape I wanted, I drilled holes in the bars and screwed them together.

 I then butchered my sons old rust bucket of a bike.  The wheels are 12" tall and keeps the trailer's center of gravity low.  Unfortunately, I drilled holes and screwed the bars together before I measured the wheel axles.  Some smarty pants decided to make the rear axle just a smidge larger than the front.  So when you *accidentally* run over your kid's bike that has been left in the will undoubtedly have to pay more to replace that bent wheel, because it is either specifically the front or rear wheel.  


So just remember that before you drill.  What's the saying?  Measure twice, cut once.  My grandmother is rolling her eyes.... or not, because she's been dead for almost two decades and probably doesn't have eyes anymore.  But she would have if she was alive.  

 The wheels were attached 'go-cart style', with a cable hanger drilled with the axle bolt in the middle.  

I never knew there was such a thing as 'go-cart style' until my husband said it.  Now I want to learn more.  Perhaps I'll build one next, with a lawn mower engine, because that just sounds right.


I added the bar to attach to the bike.  I was limited on length, because a camp chair is only so big, but I think the distance between the rear wheel and the trailer will be fine.  A regular bin fit nicely between the wheels of the trailer.  I'm just going to lash it down with a bungee cord instead of attaching it permanently.  That way I can change the load as needed.  I've got dreams, you know!

So far the biggest mistake I have made is the lack of bend in the bit attached to the bike.  If I ride my bike straight, I'll be fine. Turning right, my tire runs up against the bar after about a 25 degree turn.  Don't mind me if I end up crashing into your porch, it's just that I couldn't turn.  Please feed me a sandwich, and call an ambulance.
 These next pictures are how the hitch attaches to the bar and the bike.  The metal is 1/8th" thick and 1" wide steel.  I bent it with a vise and a hammer.  Just wait until you want to toss the kids out of the second story window before you do this bit.  It sure helps with the anger.

There's not much more to say... I've yet to actually try it out.  The rain has been persnickety round here.

I am going to fix the mistake of the lack of a bend in the bar connecting to the bike with a conduit bender.  I might have to use a piece of new conduit if the chair bit ends up too short.  That remains to be seen.  I think I did well with the recycled bits though.

The total cost so far is only about $15 for hardware and the piece of metal for the hitch.  Getting a conduit bender is a bit pricey, but fortunately my husband needs one, so I'm defraying that cost onto him.  Any piece of conduit I'll need to use will be left over from his job, so that's magically and imaginatively free too!



Enjoy dumpster diving!