Sisyphus Dreams of Chocks From Harbor Freight
I am trying to be better to the birds these days. They see me all day, and I interact with them, but I think I’ve been giving them too little time out of the cage, and I worry that their toy budget has been too low. So I’m taking them out occasionally during the day, for brief bird-pounding sessions. This can be challenging. I got a second huge cage so I would be able to relieve their boredom by moving them from one cage to another. When Marv is in the cage nearest to my chair, and Maynard is out, Marv squawks and tries to run interference, and Maynard launches himself repeatedly at my face and grabs my nose. It’s a jealousy thing. So when I want to take Maynard out, I now have to make sure Marv’s cage is behind me, out of Maynard’s sight.
I still haven’t sold Marv’s old cage. You would think people would jump at the chance to pay half price for a big King’s Cage in nearly new condition, but no one has bitten. I even tried to sell it to Tommy, for his green-winged parakeet, but he won’t go for it. And I was willing to sell extra-cheap!
I got them a $25 hanging bird toy, much like other toys they have destroyed in the past, and they ignore it. I don’t know what their problem is. At the same time, I got a weird bamboo-ladder toy, and they are eating it at a respectable rate.
Maynard is on my arm, watching me type. Soon he will want to stroll on the keys, and then he will want to walk down my legs and eat my shoes.
There he goes.
I wish they had an enclosure outside, so they could get some air. Parrots don’t like the sun–for that matter, they’re not too crazy about being outdoors, generally–but it would be good for them to have a daily change of scenery. I can’t sit them outside on perches. There are hawks here. A while back, I saw one staring at Marv while I sprayed the dust off of him. It probably could not understand why I was doing such a thorough job of washing my food. These guys would be a real treat for a hawk. Other birds eat slugs and lizards. Marv and Maynard eat seed mix, fruit, Jelly Bellies, and pizza. They are hawk Wagyu.
I am getting a bigger miter saw. Home Depot’s sale price is irresistable, and the lifetime Ridgid warranty is hard to beat. This means I will no longer have an excuse for stalling on a few carpentry jobs. I just couldn’t face doing them with a 10″ saw or a circular saw. The small miter saw would have been hard to set up perfectly, because flipping the boards in order to cut all the way across them would reveal tiny errors in cut squareness. The circular saw is a pain in the butt, pure and simple. When I cut a board to length, I want the operation to go “plop, whizzzzzz, plop, next board.” Not “plop, whizzzzzz, turn, aim carefully, whizzzzzz, curse.”
How did people ever live, back in the hand saw days? Imagine cutting twenty boards to length with a hand saw. Galley slaves had it better.
Maynard’s new thing: standing on my belly, lunging at my nose. He has had enough time out.
I don’t just want tools. I want tools that make things easy. Over and over, I have said that the real purpose of tools is to end frustration. My idea of hell is spending every day doing jobs with the wrong tools. While listening to rap. And wearing bell bottoms. And drinking Budweiser. In France.
Kind of got off the track there.
The right tool is the difference between pleasure and misery. The other day, I dug a hole for a citrus tree, using a shovel. Planting the tree was pure hell, because the dirt here is full of rocks. I think it took me an hour and a half, lifting a pint of dirt at a time. I dug the next hole with a hoe, and it took maybe ten minutes, and I didn’t break a sweat. This is why I want a big sliding miter saw. This is why I don’t want to build things using small or inappropriate saws. I don’t want a half-hour job to last four hours, and I want results I can be proud of.
This principle is why people who create new slot designs for fasteners should be released naked in the middle of the Libyan desert at midnight. During the scorpion rut. Every time a new slot design is created, people who want to be able to turn screws have to buy at least three new drivers and a bunch of bits. I have tons of these things, I and I still can’t turn all the screws I encounter. That leads to fun activities like trying to turn screws with a small Vise Grip. Put it on, start to turn, watch it pop off. Repeat for four hours. Check Expedia for fares to Libya.
By the way, I saw some fantastic videos yesterday. They’re at Taunton.com. A couple of guys demonstrate carpentry stuff. They build a bookcase. They build a workbench. They install a vise on it. Wonderful. If you click on the first video and watch it, the second one will load when it’s done. I sat through the whole set, mesmerized. They were doing things that WORKED. How come that never happens to me? Their tools didn’t break. They always had what they needed to do the job. The wood cooperated. Nobody threw anything or got out a sledge and beat a frustrating workpiece to splinters. Not that I have ever done that. Three times in one day.
Of course, it’s all rigged. It’s like an old Popeil commercial, where they use a cheap knife to cut a nail in half, but the nail is actually made of lead. The videos are totally unrealistic. They rig them by doing unfair things like preparing, measuring, and owning $500,000 worth of tools.
Bench dogs. Who has bench dogs in his real-life garage? Okay, Og probably does. He probably makes them from brass he made on his stove, from ore he mined in his backyard. He probably assembles the copper molecules from a kit. But nobody else. These guys had a whole collection of these unbelievably useful things. They even had a special pointy hat for a bench dog, which you put on top of it so you can bang a piece of wood down on it and make a starter hole for a drill bit. I think that’s right. My memory is pathetic.
Here’s an idea. Go to the Home Depot in Coconut Grove and tell Employee of the Month Ernesto Rodriguez you want a pointy hat for your bench dog so you can dimple some MDF. You’ll be lucky if he doesn’t bend a pry bar over your head.
Like all DIY videos, these are misleading and ridiculous, but they’re very satisfying to watch, because these guys succeed easily at things you would like to do, but never could. If I were not a Christian, I would compare it to watching adult films.
Speaking of hell, I know the punishment these guys deserve. They should be forced to make complex wooden items without an endless supply of obscure and expensive tools their viewers have never heard of.
SATAN: [holding a leash attached to Cerberus, the three-headed bench dog] Okay, guys, time to make a printing press from a solid block of oak. Otherwise, you have to wear the red-hot cast-iron leiderhosen all day.
FIRST VIDEO GUY: That’s impossible!
SECOND VIDEO GUY: You’re crazy!
SATAN: Observe. I mill the sides flat, draw my guide lines, and THROW THE BLOCK INTO MY BRAND NEW THREE-MILLION-DOLLAR DELTA PRINTING PRESS MAKER!
FIRST VIDEO GUY: Could be worse. We could be in France, drinking Budweiser.
SECOND VIDEO GUY: Word up.
I think I’ll make my own line of realistic DIY videos. “Today I show you how to pinch yourself with pliers and get a blood blister!” “Today I show you a quick and easy way to get a scratched cornea!” “Today I show you how to do everything right and still end up with marred workpieces!”
I already know the name of my next book. “1,000 Exotic Fasteners and How to Strip Them.”
Here’s some comforting news: even the video guys sometimes have to use the wrong tool. In one of their videos, one of them uses a socket wrench to drive a screw that would take .3 seconds with my impact driver. HA. Amateurs. Toss me the ringer.
Tools remind me of War Games. The only way to win is not to play.Stumble it! Save This Page