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October, 19 07: Ten Conversations

Category: General
Posted by: greg
You know, I try not to listen in on telephone conversations unless I'm in a switch center and the techs are placing bets. Will she? Won't she? Does this guy have a clue that he's tossing off some astoundingly low-grade bullshit? Ah, the early days of telco. I should have recorded some of it, and I think I probably did.

The thing is, I can't avoid hearing the front half of quite a few cellphone calls since most of these self-important Poohbahs TALK SO LOUD after their Bling Ring shatters the silence: "HELLO? YEAH, I'M IN THE RESTAURANT. SEE YOU IN TEN -- WOOF WOOF WOOF!"

There's an increasing number of people that won't turn their phones off in public since they need to stay in touch in case: the kids start a fire, the reactor runs away, the President can't remember how to spell Tuesday or fighters are screaming over the border at Mach 2. Whatever it is, they'll be informed about it in time to do, well, Nothing, usually. There's no reason to be wired 24/7, it's just the desire to talk with someone you know, park your mind in neutral and chat around the water cooler at 900 MHz.

Having now unwillingly listened to a quite few cellphone calls, I've also discovered something shocking but not surprising, which is a rarity in itself, viz:

People have nothing to say.

I've heard the same conversations played out over and over again and noticed there's not many of them. Unlike the number of possible chess games that numbers in the low gazillions, there's actually only ten things you can say on a cellphone:

1. One of us is running late, and we need to discuss it at length
2. One of us isn't running late, and I'm chuffed to bits to share it
3. Let's trash someone who's not here
4. Let's talk about something we can't control but can bitch about
5. Send lawyers, guns and money and get me out of this
6. Hook a brother up
7. Please do / pick up the following list of things ...
8. Bye bye, goodbye, I tried
9. Let's talk business in painful detail
10. I love you and want to be near you

Only one of these is generally worth picking up the phone and irradiating your skull to communicate, and I submit that although you can communicate that message much better in person, sometimes you just have to call.

Copyright 2007 Greg Richter / IFR Music

October, 14 07: The Tub Redux

Category: General
Posted by: greg
OK, so I mostly built a concrete Ofuro at Shoal Creek, and had gotten rather used to the whole idea of a nice, hot soak after a long day of helping loony airplane builders:

"Dude, I've got an electric eel for a power supply, an RV-6 with forward-swept Cano winglets and 400 cycle inverters to run the wing-warping system." Oh my Sweet Baby James ...

How about a nice hot soak and a Tasty Beverage? So off to the local Hot Tub store to buy one ready-made and easy to install, right?

Aw, c'mon. Like there's any way I could buy something cheap and ready to go when a truly outrageous Goat of a project lurks right here in my own backyard. That'd be like seeing some dude at the edge of the dance floor with a copy of Modern Bride in his hand, scanning the crowd for volunteers and not even asking WTF. Some things you just can't let go ...


As always, beginning involves concrete:

On the level and by the square ...

A simple form, on the level and by the square as the Masons say, with steel tied per some ASTM spec that I looked up and promptly forgot. We'll just skip the part about Cajun dog rolling in the 'crete, and me washing him off and using two bottles of conditioner to get him all happy again. That hound ...


Since he was so helpful with the last project, I made a quick call to Art at Almost Heaven Spas, and 500 pounds of CNC-machined Canadian Cedar appears at the house, looking a lot like this:

Looks like a Falco kit

Hey, this is a kit! Precut and prefab. Any yahoo can build it in a less than a day. I figure since I've got all the right tools and precision measuring equipment it couldn't possibly take me more than three. It ended up taking six hours and lots of precision tapping with the handle of a five-pound engineer's hammer. Didn't want to dent the pretty woodwork, don'tcha know. A double wrap of masking tape around the top kept the staves from falling in as I worked around the outside and, with the tension bands in place, "Houston, we've got a TANK".

Look Cajun, a bathtub!

The common wisdom with hot tubs suggests soaking in a puddle of Clorox until your Blonde friend's hair turns Elphaba green and my (only slightly) greying locks bleach white. Keeps the bacteria out, and all. Healthy, they say. As usual, I had to give this a large Think before committing to parking my Heinie in some heavy duty solution chemistry.

A little research turned up a nifty ionizer that uses sacrificial electrodes (does that sound sinister, or what?) made of both silver and copper to kill the buggies, and an ozone generator to burn off the body oils, makeup, hair glorp, Botox and whatever else people slather themselves with these days. Even olive oil. Ah, yes ...

Ozone is an O3 molecule of oxygen (the stuff we breathe is O2) and is highly reactive. It literally burns up the spoogy bits while the ionizer keeps the water clean and crisp and bacteria free. So far so good, and no nasty chlorine smell. As you'd expect I added an automatic water make-up system, and a simple drain and drywell system to dump it all should I need to. One thing I've learned in homebuilding is Plan For The Goat. The day you need to drain and refill the whole tub is NOT the day to be hassling with siphons, kinked hoses and an inconvenient lake of stinky water. Consider it a hot ejection seat for the tub -- pull the handle and Wooosh it's all gone!

Pumps and filters are standard COTS stuff (someone asked me where to get COTS-brand since I use it so much) and four trips to Lowe's turned up all the PVC pieces I needed and a potential flying bud and fellow biker. Lowe's ROCKS. Add a little deck around the outside, a pair of Yukatas on hooks for style points, and we're done. Start to finish? Six days of work in the evenings. Not bad, even for a rank amateur. Try it! Like they say at Home Depot: You can do it, we can laugh. Good thing I had Bob Gray do the deck.

Decked and done

The Ellijay Apple Festival opens next week which is a sure sign that the evenings will be getting cooler, and that I'll be needing my heavy jacket on the Moto Guzzi for the ride home from work. I look forward to a season of crisp, starry mountain nights with wood fires and jazz, to which I can now add a well-deserved soak and a Tasty Beverage. Come to think of it, I'm gonna do that right now ...

Copyright 2007 Greg Richter / IFR Music