Saturday, April 30, 2005

Bilbo didn't have to deal with this shit.

As you may or may not know. I live underground. The house is buried on three sides and the roof. This is not due to any severe paranoia about he guberment or aliens (I do sometimes wear a tin foil hat, but only as a fashion statement). This design has many advantages. For instance, when we lost power this winter, the house went down to a cool but very survivable 50 degrees. The down side is that I have a lawn for a roof and dirt on three sides of my house.

Last fall we found a leak along the back wall of the house. It wasn't gushing, but it was serious. I spent two weeks gutting my closet, scraping, acid cleaning and waterproofing the surface. But this is only a temporary fix.

When we bought the house I knew that the worst thing that could happen was to get a leak in the back wall, and what do you know, we got one. Do YOU know who to call to fix an Earth home? I didn't think so. I can't call a traditional roofer, and even an excavator is going in somewhat blind.

Today the guy who did some initial repairs to our underground secret escape passage came by to give us the good news. He can fix the wall. All he'll have to do is scrape off 1/3 of the roof, dig down 16 feet, plaster the entire wall and fill it in again. Oh, is that all? Keen. He gave us a price that involved more zeros than I feel comfortable writing here. Oh man. We feared this might happen. So we came up with a plan "B". This will involve scraping a good foot off the entire roof and laying down a rubber roofing sheet like ones used for large buildings like factories. The idea is to form a solid moisture barrier and then angle it to drain away from the house. We'll also need to add about 16 inches to the front face of the house and fill it with stone to prevent erosion and help with draining. The cost, about half of plan "A". Maybe.

Given a choice, there are other things I would prefer to spend the money on. For Christs sake there is an frelling X-wing fighter for sale just one post down! Go look at it! I think about this repair and start second guessing myself. Last year had a freakish about of rain. My repair hasn't leaked yet. But what if we damage some as-yet unseen (but critical) part of the house? My head starts to hurt. I sit down and have a soda. Ah, that's better. Ooo, cookies...

I love my house. But it keeps hitting me with questions I don't have answers to. The original design was sound. But 20+ years of Ohio weather has washed some of the top soil away and created ruts and channels and water seems to be draining incorrectly. With luck, this fix will keep the house nice and dry for another 20 years. I'm told the life expectancy of some shingled roofs is 10-20 years.

The bright spot in my day was actually finishing one project completely. We've been putting in new stone walkways and that left us with a bunch of old, fairly crappy sandstone. I pulled it up, hauled it over to a tree, chiseled down the pieces, built a wall around the base of the tree, cleared the old crap out from around the tree, hacked out 20 pounds of weed roots with an axe and put in new soil. It took three days, but you know what? I did it. I did the damn thing myself start to finish (well, Rossana did help with the roots, she likes rending). It feels so good to see something get done and actually look better that it was before. How proud am I? Check out these before and after pics.

It almost looks like I know what I'm doing.

Thursday, April 28, 2005

Oh sweet Jesus...

When I was about 7 or 8 years old I went to see Star Wars and it quite frankly, blew me away. Until then there had NEVER been ANY SciFi film with such amazing visuals. When I got home I found a big box of some kind and made my own x-wing fighter. I used a bent coathanger for the controls and the pegs from my lite brite.

Now the circle is complete. A full size x-wing is for sale on ebay. I know in my heart that the ownership of things cannut buy true happiness. I know that such a purchase is a foolheardy and impractical thing. I have no where to put an x-wing...


Buy this for me and I will have a baby, so that I can name it after you.

Monday, April 25, 2005

Too f*cking funny

The personals section in the 'London Review of Books' magazine is far more clever and witty than anything I have ever seen here in the US. An example:

Massive-breasted heiress, 38, seeks witty Nobel-awarded intellectual beef-cake gardener-chef-poet with stonking pecs. Like me, you are dynamic, hilarious, serious, ironic, passionate, practical, affectionate, kind, funny, have most of your own legs, and are startled to find yourself still cruising the aisles of the Lurve Bazaar. Unlike me, you don’t exist. Am I right? If so, will consider any M who can make conversation, sense, a living, friends, four cooked meals, hot love and me laugh. Box no. 07/01

Take a look for yourself. It's a hoot AND a hollar.

Sunday, April 24, 2005

Klingon Korset Kon

Or should I say "Khaaaaaaaaaan!"

No, I shouldn't.

Two weeks ago a fellow huckster at Vulkon told me about the Dover Peace Conference. This local event is dedicated mostly to Klingons and things er...Kling...ish. It had all the features of being a complete waste of time.

-Fan Run
-No guests
-Trek Theme (Trek is withering on the vine)
-Low attendance

But it did have one attractive feature, it was cheap, AND they let us in only a few days before the con. So it was with a sense of apprehension that I loaded the van at an ungodly hour of the morning Saturday and drove to a Holiday Inn south of Akron.

When we arrived, the dealers room was locked and the sign-in table for the con was empty. Several bleary eyed people told us that this was likely due to the very heavy drinking that had taken place last night. Apparently, the Klingons had held a viewing/performance of 'The Rocky Horror Picture Show'.

I would honestly have paid money to see that.

The dealers room was soon opened and we set up. Then we waited. And waited. There were only about four other merchants in the room. More bleary eyed Klingons began stumbling through the room. We started generating interest. But we always generate interest. We were told that Klingons don't spend a lot of money, it takes away from booze money. But every fan group does have at least 1 whale. A customer who will spend whatever it takes to get something they want. We just had to find the whale.

The whale showed up at around noon. He was not dressed as a Klingon. But he did buy $500 worth of stuff without batting an eye. The gentleman buys a new outfit for his wife every year for Dragon Con. Bless you sir. But he was a guppy compared to the next fellow who came down with his two lady friends. After a flurry of try ons he purchases three complete outfits. Me very happy, do little dance.

After this we have along talk with a very tall woman who is very enamored with the spiked leather corset Rossana is wearing. In fact, Rossana looks stunning. She is easily one of the smallest women at the con and wears a corset well. The woman orders the corset. By 5pm the dealers room is shut down so we can have a break during the banquet. It was scheduled to re-open at 8 and to close at Midnight but we were exhausted. Three sales doesn't sound like a lot but for every sale there are a dozen try ons and lots of social chatter. In the end, I was very happy with the day. The event organizer was very happy with us and the women were very happy with their corsets. All way right with the world and we drove home.

The Klingons turned out to be a very nice crowd and I will likely do the event next year. If you know someone who has a head lobster fetish, you might want to let them know about this little shindig. They'll thank you for it, or give you a head but. Which is pretty much the same thing.