Thursday, February 26, 2009

Ay Guey, eres mensa o que?

How come ever person I ever met that was a member of Mensa seems to be a complete idiot? They always seem to have one or more glaring defects, like the inability not to say the most offensive thing imaginable if given the opportunity.

I think that it just must be that anyone who'd actually want to be a member of Mensa is socially maladjusted. After all, isn't the point to prove to the rest of the world that you really are smarter than they are?

One of the things that I really get a kick out of is when people tell me they are members of Mensa. I always smirk everytime some overly Aspberger'ed self proclaimed "know it all" points out their acceptance by Mensa. It's because I know that the gardener would bust out laughing if he heard this.

You see, "mensa" in Mexican slang means "stupid". Many times when I've just failed to get the obvious point I've received the "no mensa" crack from my wife (who happens to be Mexican).

Yep, I just get a kick out this. Especially when it's my cousin doing it.

Friday, February 20, 2009

My contribution to the universe of hate crimes

I came up with an idea today. I can’t say it’s the best idea I ever had but in some ways I think it just might have legs.

See, I think there needs to be a new group to persecute. Remember back in the 80s and 90s how “gay bashing” suddenly became a topic of conversation? I’d like to update this for today’s world. I don’t really think people should be beating up gays though, they really don’t “deserve” it.

Same with ethnic minorities. No, I don’t really have anybody who I think needs a beat down because of their race, gender, proclivities, or even what kind of car they drive (although those Honda kids with the fart can mufflers might need at least a “yer a fuggin’ moron” look).

So who then? Who really needs a hard ass smackdown? Well, after looking at my 401k today I have an idea. See, I want to go get a ski mask and a baseball bat and buy a ticket to New York. I’ll skulk in the shadows of some hot dog cart and when I spy the right ration of charcoal grey suit to spare tire and thinning gray hair on with the “banker bashing”.

I just have this image in my head of some reporter interviewing a disheveled middle aged man with twisted gold wire frame glasses, maybe a sleeve torn loose or a little blood, describing his horrific attack. And I'm amused about it...

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Is the milk really $1.67 a gallon?

I've got a pretty bad bout of insomnia right now so I decided to go down to the Wal-mart market and get some stuff. I was out of coffee cream anyway and didn't go last night like I should have because I really am a lazy fucker. My plan was to get up 30 minutes early and go in the morning (we all know how much that sucks don't we?) but instead I got up 4 hours early.

Anyway, so I figured I might as well go get the cream. As I get up, I wake up my wife, not entirely by accident, thinking maybe there's something better to do than go to Wal-Mart at 3:00 in the morning. No dice, but she does have a grocery list for me. Her list reads like a plot for a hurricane, "Milk, eggs, bread and of course cream".

So I trundle down there and head for the milk case. Underneath the name brand milk (who buys this stuff? It's fucking milk, it comes out of cows, it's all the same) is the Wal-Mart brand and the tag says $1.67 a gallon. That can't be right, $2.50 a gallon is a smoking deal.

So I ask one of the weird non English speaking nocturnal stock trolls if the price is right. Apparently that was a really tough question because he had to consult with some others in his clan and finally get the guy who knows how to make fire and open bottles to answer for him. "Yes, that's the price" he says.

Now, given the quality of low rent 3:00 AM labor these days, I still don't trust him but I grab a coupla gallons, get the eggs and cream and bread and head for the counter. Dude was right, $1.67 a gallon.

I still think some sausage fingered stock boy entered this in the system wrong and it should have been $2.67 but what the hell. Maybe in today's economy the price of milk is dropping just like the price of oil (I hope the price of beer is next). Or maybe it's from China and the reason it's white is lead paint.

I think I'll go wake up my wife again and inform her of my good forture.

"Your cream is here"

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Hot rod, post numero uno!

Well, you have to start somewhere so I decided to start with the frame. I have to start there or it remains a pile of parts.

Since I pretty much have a good idea that I don’t know what I’m doing, I decided to buy a book on the subject. After reading that, I still have no clue but at least I have something to refer back to.

Remembering how I got out of grade school, I decide that when all else fails it’s best just to copy from someone else who looks like they have a clue. In this case, I’m cribbing “Littleman” and his superb “Death’s Doorstep” (see to see what someone who has a clue does).

If you saw the TV show “Hard Shine”, you might recognize him as Dave Lohr, the guy who actually won the contest (check out his blog here

In order not to be a total shameless ripoff, all I’m copying here is the front rails and to be fair, these are time honored hot rod tricks. I’ll have a few less holes but the general idea is the same.

Death’s Doorstep, what a real hot rod should look like

Frame rail of Death's Doorstep

Based on what I thought it should look like, I drew up a plan on some old graph paper I’ve had since high school and then made a life sized pattern out of cardboard. This just seemed to be how it should be done.

I managed to bum some 2X6 rectangular tubing off a fellow HAMB’er “elchuco” (Henry Ramirez - I’ll get him back for that, it was a great thing to do) and went snooping around on how to make holes. I figured it would be pretty cool to make them get progressively smaller as the frame tapers down so I tried to determine what to use. A trip to the steel yard turned up Schedule 40 water pipe. It’s sold in incremental sizes and most importantly it’s cheap.

Now, one thing I learned in my “research” is that lightening holes don’t do much other than look “bitchen”. The pipe I put in where I cut the wall out weights more than the part I cut out. Also, it pretty much does nothing to make anything stronger (the sidewall is what makes the square tube rigid). No problem, It’s gonna look cool and that’s what I’m after here.

Henry also came up with a brilliant idea. He knew a guy who owns a water jet over in Juárez and the guy agreed to try to cut the holes out of the rectangle for $50. That’s a smoking deal over what the hole saws for all those different sizes would cost me.

Now, here’s another nugget of knowledge for ya. Water pipe is sold by the internal diameter, not the external diameter. That means when you cut the hole to stick your “holes” in, you need to add the wall thickness twice (watch that one, many a smart feller have added it only once). I called the steelyard and asked how thick the wall was for each of the sizes I had planned on using. These sizes were determined by what sizes they sold.

On paper, I knew what size to cut the holes. In reality, I was going on blind faith that nothing would go wrong such as the steelyard guy not knowing what he was talking about.

Henry offered to draw up an AutoCAD drawing of what I drew on the napkin for the water jet dude and since I don’t have AutoCAD I jumped at the chance. This also helps the guy to make it since this equipment just loads the cad drawing and cuts.

It worked like a charm, cutting perfect and clean holes in the rails. This is a thousand times nicer than I would have done with the hole saws and I didn’t have to clean up any of my blood afterwards. But, the big question remains – will the holes fit after I get them made?

I cut a rounded notch in the back of the rail to transition it down to the part where it will meet the part of the frame that runs under the cab, which will be 2X4 rectangular tubing. This was done by hand with a cheap ass electric cutoff tool from Harbor freight. I think I may have paid $8 for it. Luckily it worked and I didn’t take off any fingers either.

I got the sizes I had planned for from the local steelyard. These guys are used to selling truckloads of beams to people building bridges and metal framework so they looked at me a little weird when I went in requesting 6” of 6 different sized tubes but they humored me when I told them what it was for.

I don’t have a bunch of tattoos or a pompadour haircut so I probably don’t look much like a guy building a hot rod in his yard. In fact, I probably look more like your accountant than Billy badass. Just fine by me, I’m too old for that crap anyway.

I work in a factory and it’s standard operating procedure for guys to abuse the use of the toolroom. Instead of spending all afternoon with a hacksaw trying to cut a straight line with my vise bolted to a table, I bribed the guy in the toolroom with a 12 pack of Tecate to turn em down for me. Plus, since he’d be cutting them down on the lathe, I asked him to bevel the edge so my weld bead would be below the surface so I’d have less grinding to do. He did a super job on them and was happy to get beer in payment (I love Mexico).

Now for the moment of truth, will they fit? As my kids look on (Isabella, my daughter was dying to “help”. I consider this a good thing) I laid one rail out and got one of the stacks of holes.

They fit perfectly! There’s not much gap to fill in and I’m pretty stoked about the result. The plan is to tack them in and then weld up the gaps. After that, I’ll cut a long skinny wedge out below the holes and fold up the bottom part to make the rail tapered. The welded in holes should keep the sides from warping on me.

Well, that was the plan until I noticed something I hadn’t noticed before. Two of the holes seem to have been made by a mill that leaves a big nasty weld bead on the inside of the pipe. I’ll have to go back and bribe the toolroom guy with some more beer to turn this out of them. Either that or sit in the yard with a dremel for a couple of hours grinding it out.

Oh well, that’s minor compared to the fact that I need to wire my garage for 220v 80 amp service to accommodate the Miller 180 Tig welder I picked up for the project. Now where can I get a book about wiring?

Monday, February 16, 2009

The Great American Short Hair conspiracy

This is one of those things I’ll probably get a lot of flack over but I’ll say it anyway. I spend a fair amount of time reading the tripe on Kinda for the same reason they still have local news. It’s light and mildly entertaining.

About once a month they have some civilization altering article to help you determine if you are “age appropriate”. These articles are almost always aimed at women and usually a thinly veiled attempt to sell jeans or sweaters.

As pointless as they are, they do strike a nerve with me,-a pretty big one actually. What is this shit about women needing to cut their hair short in their mid to late 30s? I live and work in Mexico most of the time and this culture has not bought into this bullshit at all. Most, (not “many” or “some” but a solid “most”) women keep their hair long well into their late 40s or 50s. I’d say at least 60% keep it long for life. If you don’t believe me, just watch Univision for a couple of hours and check out the villainesses.

And you know what ladies? It looks great. No, they don’t look like desperate cougars struggling to maintain their youth. In fact, they look alive and vibrant. In fact, a lot of them look “hot”, how ‘bout that for an adjective? Here’s a few samples for you:

Salma Hayek now 42 years old (An owner of a website with alot higher traffic than mine once said that if there was such a thing as the Salma Hayek channel, he'd watch it all day long)

Mirabelle Guardia, 49 or possibly north of 50 (Maybe not the best example to make my case as she's alot like a restored old car - much of the original equipment has been replaced or upgraded)

Angélica Rivera, 38. Perhaps the best example I found of a pretty older girl without a bunch of modern plastic parts.

You’ve read everything from Cosmo to Redbook your whole life trying to determine what men like. Don’t try deny it, these magazines wouldn’t still be around printing the same articles over and over if you were not buying them. I’m a pretty average guy and let me tell you what we like – long pretty hair.

Very few women can pull off short hair and look good. If you’re older and your face isn’t perfect guess what? It makes you look 10 years older, instantly. Gotta big snozz, guess what? - the “Night Ranger” look is for you. Overweight? Just like loose fitting clothes hide the armpit rolls, long hair is going to hide a bit of those labrador retreiver jowls on ya. Short hair is nice on your son, not you.

I suspect that they age appropriate haircut myth is being perpetuated by late 20 something hotties who realize they are about to pass that crest and are trying to thin out the “MILF factor” down at the local Radisson lizard lounge. Probably it’s recited in secret sorority meetings until believed as fact.

Don’t do it, you look better with long hair.

Anyway, why do I care? Well, as my 5 year old daughter tells me “I just want to help people.”

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Stuff that just pisses me off

What I'd like to know is why, with my profound love of sophomoric humor, I was not the person who invented "Truck Balls"? "Big Cougar" here had a chrome plated set about the size of basketball.

While I risk my life dodging the Mexican army and drug traffickers every workday there is some guy (who I imagine is alot like a real life "Larry the Cable Guy") sitting by a kidney bean shaped pool with a bottle of Jack Daniels black label stuck in a silver champagne bucket ogling his tanga wearing Shania Twain lookalike. That really should have been me.

Oh well, I guess there's a market somewhere for the pecker shaped gearshifter or the "real feel" boobie horn button...

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Places best to avoid

I took this picture in Apex North Carolina. I assume the owner of this car wash thought he was being clever naming his business “The Wet Spot”. I don’t know if that was the most appealing name he could have come up with but he thought it was worth going with and spent hard fought cash to hot press his wet dream into plastic.

This is one of those places where you sit in the lobby reading two year old copies of People or Field & Stream while 5 guys detail your car. I personally don’t want to sit in the wet spot while someone washes my car and I really hope that no one calls me on the cell phone and asks me where I am, i.e.: “sitting in the wet spot”.

That aside, his attempt to work the Hooters business model comes crashing down the creative ladder of sexual innuendo to the rung of redneck humor with his mangling the spelling of the one thing on the property that should suck, his vacuums .
At least he has showers for when you're all done sitting in the wet spot.