October 31, 2005

Book review revisited.

I did a little lambasting of a book a little more than a year ago here. When I was going through my comments checking for spam, I found this anonymous one from someone who called themselves "Observer". Here's the comment that they left:

You obviously didn't do your home work on this book at all man! Its about racism the different animals are all represent different countries and the wolves are borrowing their assets its very political actually. The underlying message isn't cutesy at all its very nessesary infact. Quite simply its that no one can overcome racism while shutting themselves away. Man did you ever miss the point!

I certainly agree that there is a "multicuturalism" message built into the missive, but I just don't think it holds much merit. The story implies that the downtrodden little wolves (I'm not sure who they are intended to represent, but let's just say it is Blacks in America.) can run to other countires for assistance, and that it will be provided for them. Sort of a "Gee Mr. Kangaroo. The Pig (aka: "The Man") has kept me down, so now I'll rely on your infinite charity to get me through my time of strife."...and the charity is there for them. Even after the charity was wasted several times by the actions of the Pig. It's not that the mere asking for help is a bad thing, but that it is universally portrayed as the "right thing", and also alluded to that it is 100% successful.

My limited experience with the "world at large" tells me that this phenomena is patently false. It is easy for me to say "Blacks in America" above, but there really is no such definitive of that group of citizen's. Americans who have Skin Pigment aren't all the same. They break themselves off into factions just as diverse as the variances between different races. The lines are drawn just the same as other groups define them: religion, political affiliation (arguably the same as religion), social class, education level, language, national origin, financial income, celebrity, bloodline...the list goes on and on. I call this the "We/They" factor.

The "We/They" factor states that it is an automatic function of the human animal to group together people who are similar (in one of the way's listed above), and they will invariably find fault with another group of people whose "Definition of Sameness" differs from theirs. All you have to do is skim a history book, then skim a newspaper, and you can find a similarity in the disparity between the groups of folks portrayed. I contend that this is a human universal, and that conflict will most probably be a condition that people put themselves in due to it. Bolack American's may call out for help from Black Australian's, but the chances of them recieving any palpable help are slim due to the inherent variances between the two groups. "sure they're Black, but they're not Australian, so we can't waste our resources help them. There will be a few who will help out, but it's nowhere near a majority, and it's likely to do absolutely nothing in the bargain (Pig blows your house down.).

I say: "Build it back from the sweat of your own brow." I believe that you'll appreciate what you have more, and you'll have a lot more pride in the actual accomplishment.

Then there's the mixed message of "Accept the Pig/Man into your heart and home, and you'll be happier". Hmmn. Go ask other's for help, but conform to your oppression. Huh? If you accept the charity, you are a part of the welfare state, but if you accept the idea's of "the oppressor", you get to be an "Uncle Tom". Which should it be? This book gives me the impression that you can have your cake and eat it too, and we all (should) know that it's impossible. You can't have it both ways.

Is the book bad? Not as such. It's a children's book. But I think that kid's reading should encompass a lot more of the harsh reality of what the world is really like, rather than espouse a Eutopian Ideal of what it should be. The intent isn't wrong, but the delivery is.

***Note to anonymous "Observer"***

Thanks for the thought provoking comments" Dissenting opinions are alway's welcomed, as long as they are not abusive, and your comment clearly wasn't. As long as this is a trend, you are not only welcomed, but encouraged to leave your thoughts here. If you wish to email your idea's to me, I'll treat them in the same respectful manner...Just more personal. Thanks again.

Posted by Johnny - Oh at 09:45 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

October 25, 2005

Bump in the night.

I was just sitting here perusing the "sphere, when I realized that someone had broken into my house and smoked all the cigarrettes that were in the pack in my shirt pocket. (I'm gonna get me a security system to prevent that from happeniong again.) I decided that since all of my smokes were gone from that pack, I'd better get up offa my dead ass and get another one. But...BUT! They're like Five Whole Feet away! It's a Nightmare! After an Olympian effort to get my achin' carcass over to the couch where the sack full of smoke's was, I noticed a strange noise coming from underneath one of the cushions. "What's this?" my mind reeled at me in abject confusion. "It sounds like a crowd or something" it also interjected rather unhelpfully. I could distinctly hear people yelling and whistling at something, but I could not determine why this type of activity was going on in my couch.

The second and a half of complete consternation seemed an eternity...until my internal Holmes kicked in and made a deduction. To whit: "The Aural emanations are coming from your Rear Surround Sound speaker that's sitting on the windowsill behind the couch...You Chowderhead!". (I guess Holmes can be a bit Bitchy when he's awakened by an idiot in search for nicotine.)

A couple of "word's to the wise"

1. Never watch the World Series with your Surround Sound set on "Dolby Prologic", 'cuz you might get freaked out by it.
2. The perfect ingredients for noisome and noxious flatulence is a combination of Brussell Sprouts and Miller Lite beer.

Just watchin' out for YOU people.

Posted by Johnny - Oh at 10:07 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

October 20, 2005

Another Milestone Passed

Well. It had to happen eventually. Time marches on and so forth. Just slightly over a year ago, I embarked on a grand new adventure, and I can proudly say that I still dig it.

Being in the elevator trade gives me a tremendous amount of satisfaction, and a feeling of accomplishment that had been missing from my work. I enjoy the sense of doing something practical for my fellow man. IT forces me to learn, learn, and then learn some more. I LOVE it.

But...It has its drawbacks. When I hit the house, I am both mentally and physically tired. The mental part is good, but it cuts into my blogging, and the physical part is good, but it reminds me that I ain't twenty no more. My roommate recently got a job at the Geek Squad, and his girl Jenny works in a call center doing Customer Service for a cell phone company. They can commiserate when it comes to being "mentally tired, but when it comes to the physical, they've got no clue. Jenny had to go out to a local store today for a cross-training exercise, and she came home bitching aboout having to stand at a counter all day, and Steven has to stand at a desk for most of his shift as well. I get to hear bitching about "my feet hurt", and "I stood there all day", and sometimes I just want to take them out to a jobsite and show them what "real work" is.

Sure, they work on or with computers, and so do I. Sure, they have to have good communication skills, and so do I. Where I deviate is in the fact that I not only need to know electoronics, I've got to know, mechanics, hydraulics, and the relationship(s) between the whole of them to be effective at my carreer. Also, "standing at a counter" would sometimes seem like a blessing. A fair percentage of my day is spent squatting on my haunches, standing on ladders, and bent into strange positions for hours at a time. All the while, I am usually carrying or manipulating items that range in wieght from 30 pounds to 200 pounds (or sometimes heavier). At least 50% of the time I'm performing these feats, I'm perched atop a surface that has plenty of trip hazards, next to a two to twelve story drop to my death.

Don't talk to me about "being tired" when you don't work to this degree. It takes a special kind of stupid a certain love of the job to do this work. I'm blessed that I have that kind of dedication, or I'd really be miserable.

The best part is this: Most people are concerned about elevator's only when they don't work. Most of the time, you just step aboard, push the correct flor, and arrive at your destination. For me, that's truly the satisfaction in the work I do. When it's transparrent, I've done my job correctly. It's worked for a year...lLet's see what next year brings.

Posted by Johnny - Oh at 01:09 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

October 17, 2005

A date with Ida.

So I went out this evening in search of the elusive haircut. I am the World's Worst when it comes to letting my hair go. I usually joke with the stylist that "I get a haircut once every six month's whether I need it or not", but that statement is nearly true. Lately, it's just gotten to the point where my lack of vanity can no longer keep my miniscule sense of style in check.

Arriving at the salon, I just signed in, and waited for my haircut. I never select a particular stylist, as I'm not there often enough to have picked one, so they just give me the first one that's available. That's when I first laid eyes on her...Ida (Forty-seven years old if she's a day.) in all her horn-rimmed spectacled glory. I knew that she would give me ther perfect trim.

The first time she used her Angelic Voice I knew...that she wasn't from around here. Somewhere in Mexico, or maybe Cuba, but definately a Spanish overtone, and not long off the boat at that. I understood maybe every third word, but I just went with it. The hair rianed down like...well rain, and I began to get a little depressed. Not because of the haircut, but what I observed in the results. I'm Thirty-four years old. Not "Ay-ged" by today's standards at all. The sheer quantities of gray hairs mixed in with the dark ones were, disquieting. The harsh light of the flourescent's above really accentuate the juxtaposition between the hues. At least one in twenty of my hair's are now silver. Dammit!

Luckily, Ida made it all better better with her admonition of "Jew Kum Aye Champu". It took her three ties before I realized that she wanted to shampoo my head-bone. She told me to relax, and to take a "bacashun", and with words of wisdom like that, I could naught but do her bidding.

I got a pretty-good haircut, and a love that will last a lifetime. The next time I go to the salon. I'm putting "Ida" on the request sheet. I think it's only right after all we shared today.

Posted by Johnny - Oh at 11:59 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

October 16, 2005

Seven Things.

I guess Tammi was curious, so here goes.

Seven things I want to do before I die.

*Travel to every state in the Union.
*Race in an AMA road course event.
*Take an overnight train trip.
*Go to a Cubs game at Wrigley Field.
*Buy a boat big enough to live on.
*Sail my boat from Knoxville, TN. up the Tennessee River, Across the Ohio River to the Mississippi, and all the way to the Gulf of Mexico.
*Find the right girl, and make her mine.

Seven things I can do.

*I can build a two-stop "Hole-less" Dover Elevator in two weeks flat.
*I can keep an $1,100 1985 Nissan pickup, running for six years.
*I can kill half a bottle of bourbon (plus a few beers) and still make it to work the next day...and be productive.
*I can Love my son, even though I haven't seen him in more than nine years.
*I can get dirty...and be okay with it.
*I can get hurt at work, and not sue the company that I work for.
*I can blend into just about any crowd.

Seven things I can't do.

*I can't Quit drinking. (At least not right now.)
*I can't play the guitar to my satisfaction.
*I can't cook for more than one.
*I can't ignore the good qualities of a woman over the bad.
*I can't be "shoehorned" inot one musical niche.
*I can't be THAT guy.
*I can't believe that I've made so many friends.
*I can't post every day.

Seven things I say a lot.

*Oh God!
*I don't even know who you are anymore.
*Or...What have ye.
*Killer Shark!
*I'm a bad person.
*I'll kill you.

Seven things I find attractive in a female.

*Intelligence, and a willingness to prove it.
*She must "spoon" well.
*She can "take direction" without getting pissed off.
*She can put up with my shit.
*She's gonna be around.
*She prods me into doing what I know I should in the first place.
*There's nothing more attractive than a "willing woman".

Seven Celebrity Crushes

*Jamie Lee Curtis
*Sondra Bullock
*Christina Applegate
*Mira Sorvino.
*Sarah the Penguin (Just 'cuz she hates being called a Celebrity.)
*Rosseanne Barr

Hell,I'm too drunk to finish this.


Posted by Johnny - Oh at 11:28 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

October 13, 2005

If you hadn't already surmised...

I kinda fell off the wagon a bit last night. I had a lot more booze leftover from last weekends festivities than I had planned on. Temptation got the better of me, and I had a tipple or three. I didn't have a bad day or anything, I was just feeling a little lonely.

Lonely + Lot's of liqour = Rambling sappy post. Which is much better than calling up old girlfriends, as it's less abusive (to them and me.). Anyhow, I'm sorry for the poor content, but I do not apologize for the post, or even the drinking. When I got to work today, I felt good. I was actually raring to rip, instead of dragging-ass in there, exhausted and whiny. I felt good all day, and despite myself, managed to get a lot of good work done.

Since Kev and I have lost our night shift, we've been resigned to doing a lot of the grunt work as well as the actual design and system stuff, I've been hitting the house completely exhausted. Bone and brain weary. I've been putting off working on my brakes due to that reason, but tonight I actually fixed them. I had the energy to.

I'm not saying that it was a good thing to tie one on last night, but I'm interested in the results that I got from doing so. I'm thinking on turning this brief bit of weakness into an experiment in my own pysiognomy, and the effects that alchohol has on my system, not to mention the mental and emotional aspects of things. Could be interesting.

Posted by Johnny - Oh at 11:42 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

What I need.

Here I sit. Drunk off my ass, blogging into the damn night. We all know that I'm kinda lonely, but there's few who know the extent of it. I've aluded to the fact that I have a child. His name is Daniel. I pay out Support on him, and that's one of the crosses I bear. I left his Mother on the day after his conception, because I knew that it wouldn't work between me and she. A year later...she showed up on my doorstep with my little boy. Paternity tests confirmed that he was my son.

(Insert seven years of celibacy.) I mean, I wouldn't even talk to a female if she was moderately interested in me. It would send me into such a heap of depression that I'd spend a few months in a fetal position just getting over it. It was a nightmare.

Some friends of mine convinced me to get "back in the saddle" as it were, and I had me some fun. Best lay I've ever had in fact. Unfortunately, I moved two-hours away for my career, and after a few months it was determined that she was cheating on me. I wasn't surprised, just disappointed. Hell, I drove back to town every two weeks to be with her, but it wasn't enough. She found someone who could gove her what she wanted.

I've been on and off the hobby-horse since then, but it's not easy. Some have been from places so far away that there's no way it could work. Other's have come from places that I could no longer be pleased with than if I'd just done a job.

This last one is a person who could make me happy, if she coule get over her own hang-ups. It's unfortunate that she's also an enabler (I'm drinking on the bottle that we bought together last weekend as we speak) and that's not exactly a deal breaker, but it gives me pause.

What I currently need is a good Woamn who can help me realise my full potential. A partner. Someone who I can rely on to let me know when I'm oversepping the bounds, and can also give me an intelligent conversation after a wondrous bout of monkey sex.

I'll be the firtst to admit that I'm not the best candidate for this type of woman. Im work a job that causes me to come home exhausted most day's. i've spent way to many years "Inside my own head", so I don't express my feelings very well. I don't have a pot to piss in, or a window to throw it out of.

I don't know waht there may be to attract her, but "What I need" is a good woman. If you know one that can help me out, let me know.

Posted by Johnny - Oh at 12:22 AM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

October 10, 2005

Remember how I "love being a mechanic"?

Well... The other frickin' shoe dropped on me. I made it about twenty miles on my new wheel cylinder this morning. Unfortunately, the job I'm on is twenty-five miles away. Something went Evil in that brake drum. Lots of scraping metal on metal noises, and I could feel whatever was caught in the drum actually slowing my vehicle down. I knew that this was going to be bad.

I slowed down to the soft shoulder of the road, and got out to see if there was anything I could do. When I peeked behind the tire to inspect things, all I saw was brake fluid bleeding out from the edges of the drum. A few choice metaphors was all the positive impact I could make on the situation, as I had to get to work. I rolled on a quarter of a mile to the nearest gas station, and shut her down, (It's a lot better than leaving it on the shoulder of an Interstate Highway.) and called Kev to come and get me so I could get to work. I went on into the establishment to let them know that there was to be a disabled vehicle in their drive for the duration of the day, and went back outside to wait for Kevin. Amazingly I see the distinctive and familiar Logo of the company I work for emblazoned on a van sitting at one of the fuel pumps. It was Phil, and he was willing to give me a ride up to the Hospital. Called Kevin and let him know the new dynamic, and rode on into work with Phil.

I spent most of the day worried about what was going on with my van, so I wasn't as productive as I normally am. However, George (the guy who is dedicated to the Hospital to maintain their Fifty-Five elevator's, and who happens to live on a houseboat that I painted the name on.) was willing to give me a ride back to my van, and take me to the parts store afterward. Thank goodness, he was willing to do this, otherwise I'd have had to bother my parents or my sister (who was sweet enough to call and check on the situation late in the day today.) but he made all that unnecessary.

Once I got back to my car, I immediately commenced to pull the wheel off to see what the issue was. As soon as it came off, I pulled on the brake drum, and it fell off of the wheel studs in several pieces. It was a nightmare. The drum itself was split into two peices, one of the brake shoes was destroyed, and all of the assorted other pieces fell out onto the ground. Essentially, the entire back brake on that side needed to be replaced. Off to the parts store we went, and 1 hour and Seventy dollars later, we were back at my van ready to do some work. A half an hour after that, I had my brakes reassembled, and got back on the road. Things still aren't perfect though, as there is not as much pedal pressure as there should be, but at least I can make it to work in the morning. I lost enough brake fluid to warrant an entire brake system bleed down, but after I got home tonight, I was just not in the mood.

I'm tired and I'm greasy, and I have to be at work early on the morrow. Screw it. I'll fix it tomorrow night. These are the times when I hate being a mechanic.

Posted by Johnny - Oh at 11:44 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

October 09, 2005

I Love Being a Mechanic

So... I'm driving around town yesterday in my van, and suddenly I have no pressure on my brake pedal. I had to be really careful driving the thing home, as there wasd some brake pressure, but not enough to stop in any timely fashion. The worst part of it was the fact that I was out drinking most of the day, and I was really in no condition to be driving a disabled vehicle, but there it is. After I got home last night, I figured "why waste a good drunk on working on my car?", so I just kept "powering on" until it was nighty-night time. What can I say? I'm a dedicated drunk.

This morning (who'm I kidding? it was after noon before I finally got awake enough to do anything) I decided that I'd better scope things out. I found that my brake fluid was really low, so I went ahead and topped it up. Since I needed some cigarrettes, I headed on down to the local convenience store, as a test run to see if the fluid had corrected my problem. Nope. I got it back home, and broke out my shop manual. I still wasn't really in the mood to work on it, so I figured that I would check the book to see if there was any simple fix I could try. Unfortunately, all I got from it was getting scared that there was a problem in my ABS controller. All the book said in regards to the ABS system was "take it to a dealer". Great! I can't afford that.

I went on back outside, and moved the van from the yard into the driveway so I could see what was going on. I started checking each of the wheels to see if there was any signs of brake fluid leaking. Eureka! The passenger side rear wheel was literally dripping with brake fluid. I breathed a huge sigh of relief when I saw that, as I knew that I could avoid a costly dealership visit.

Jack her up and pull the wheel. Remove the brake drum, and I see that the wheel cylinder is where all the damn fluid is coming from. For the uninnitiated: a wheel cylinder is a small hydraulic piston that forces the brake pads into the inside of the drum to provide the friction that stops your vehicle. See here for more info. I called up my local Advance Auto Parts store (There's one about a mile up the road from me) and found that they are out of stock of these for my vehicle. It's okay though, as the one that's five miles away has a couple in stock. Jenny drives me over there, and I proceed to procure the part.

Luckily for me I have had to replace a wheel cylinder on this van before, so I already had some specialty tools that I needed. You see, General Motors decided that in order to ensure that people bring their vehicle back to teh factory service shops, they would use a very strange style of bolt to hold the wheel cylinders in place. The best way for me to describe it is by telling you about a Torx (tm) head screw. You've all seen (unless you live in a cave or something) a normal "slotted screw". There is a single groove cut into the head of it, where you insert a flat blade screwdriver to either tighten or loosen it. Another type of screw is called the "phillp's head", and instead of having a single slot, there are two that are arranged in a "+" formation. With a Torx head, there is a six pinted star instaid into the head of the screw. same concept of the screw applies, but youhave to have different tools to deal with each one. The bolts that hold the part in are like a reverse Torx. Instead of having the six-pointed star inset into the head of the bolt, the entire bolt head is shaped like a six pointed star. (Essentially, you just take a Torx head, and pull it inside-out.) I can't remember how much the socket's that fit this type of bolt cost me, but the frustration of finding them the first time is literally seared into my head.

My Dad had driven me to the Auto parts store to get a new cylinder, and after the purchase was made, we came back to the Marina for me to fix the problem. I reached around there to figure out what size wrench I needed to get the thing off of there, and found the strange reverse Torx headed bolts. This was a Saturday night, and all I wanted to do was get home. Home is twenty five miles away, and the parts store is at least ten. It's well past dark, and I was extremely frustrated. Not to mention the fact that I was working in a parking lot. dad had to carry me back down the the parts store, and I was lucky to find that they had a socket set that fit these wierd things. It added around an hour to my toital repair time, and there's things I'd have rather been doing with my life at the time.

At any rate, this time was much better. I still had the right tools in my (several) tool box's, and was able to make the repair in no time flat. Half-hungover, not really motivated, and really wanting to take my Sunday as a "Lazy Day". All told, the total time I actually worked on the vehicle (This definately does not include the time I took grousing about the fact that I had to work on it. Otherwise the time would rise exponentially.) was less than an hour. The part cost me every bit of $12.88.

I can only imagine what kind of ordeal this would have been if I wasn't a mechanic. Minimum cost would have been in the $300 range. There's towing fee's, and $60 dolaar an hour mechanic's charges, and the 500% markup on parts to consider. Fuck you! I'll do it my damnself.

I Love being a mechanic. Even when I hate it.

Posted by Johnny - Oh at 11:32 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

October 03, 2005

I'm bein' bad.

Here I sit, on a weeknight, and I'm enjoying a drop of the "Old Kentucky". I had some last night as well. "What's that?" you say. "An alchy who is drinking something he has professed against on a forbidden night? Obviously he is a charlatan who will transgress again and again, and his evil will bring down this great country of ours." Or, what have you.

The honest truth is: I just had some left over from my weekend bottle. I got it on Friday evening, but then I went directly to the local showing of Serenity. During the program, my roommate's cell-phone rang twice, and then mine went off. Upon completion of the film, I checked my voicemail, and it was from an ex-coworker of Steven and myself. Dave was down at our favorite watering hole, and was looking for us to come on out there and keep company with him. Well it's been weeks and weeks since "unemployed boy" and I had set foot in there, so it was determined that a little bar time was in order. (That and the euphoria of coming away from a really cool movie.) When it was time to leave, I ordered myself a double-bourbon on the rocks. I enjoyed it quite a lot, and then waited for the appointed outcome. A couple of coffee's later, I came on home, and had a few of my own.

Saturday was spen down at the Texas Roadhouse. I watched the Vol's win, and the Cubs triumph. I was offerred some Maker's Mark for my company at that venue, and was unashamed at taking it. After an afternoon's drinking, I was ready to come on back to the house and get blistered, but I can only manage one booze to the ratio of my beers. Therefore, I had a little of the good stuff left over.

It's not been detrimental to me, amd I've not gone overboard. I don't care what you say...That's progress.

Posted by Johnny - Oh at 11:40 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack