Posts from July 2006

  • Honeywell Wanted My Soul Today

    So I just had the weirdest salesman/door-to-door guy bother me. This wasn’t the usual hard sell thing, as I first expected. Instead, what they wanted to do was place a sign on our property to advertise Honeywell (specifically, their home security products), and in exchange they would pay us. How could I possibly say no?? Well, you see, the problem is I’m already pissed enough at the sheer ubiquity of advertising, and the last thing I wanted was my house to turn into a glorified billboard. Not to mention the fact that I think home security systems are largely overrated (it’s not like it would take more than ten minutes to break one of our windows and steal a bunch of valuables) and are nothing more than a way for companies to cash in on fear.

    So, unsurprisingly, I said “fuck that”… though in somewhat more polite language. But the best part was the guy’s reaction. “But… we’re gonna pay you.” he replied, as if the price of my soul, not to mention my values and dignity, were so easily purchased. He seemed genuinely puzzled, not to mention a little put off, that I didn’t want to become a Honeywell marketing tool.

    Well, to Mr. Marketing guy and to Honeywell, I say it again: fuck that. I already have to constantly put up with advertisements. Everytime I browse the web, turn on the TV (after I’ve already paid for cable), or go to the theatre (with a ticket I already paid for), I’m bathed in advertisements and product spots. Why would I want to pollute my nice little neighbourhood with even more?

  • Trailer Time

    Man, it’s been a while since I’ve written, but I have a good excuse, I swear. You see, I’ve been busy. Very busy. With the weather being as fantastic as it has been, I’ve felt compelled to pull out my tools have some good DIY fun! So, what’s the latest? Well, see for yourself:

    Oh yes, I built myself a bike trailer! Using the fantastic directions provided by the generous Mark Rehder, who got the design from “The Cart Book, with Plans and Projects” by William L. Sullivan, I combined some parts scavanged from my old bike with some EMT and other goodies from the local hardware store, and, over the span of three days, voila! a trailer was borne.

    Now, the most difficult part of a bike trailer project is coming up with a hitch design. Many people use things like bungee cords, or even purchase one outright (there are some nice ball-and-socket hitches on the market). Me? I came up with my own, inspired by the hitch used in this design. It uses a spring I took from a storm door kit (that just happens to fit the 3/4” EMT precisely) to provide the necessary flexibility:

    It seems to work fairly well. Of course, the attachment to the bike is a total hack, but it does the job. And while there’s a bit of surge, it’s not too bad. Though I still need to install a safety line (basically a cable running from the tow bar to the bike), just in case.

    In the mean time, I also need a box. I’ll probably build something out of plywood with a base that sits below the main frame. This lowers the center of gravity and allows me to move heavy loads more safely. I also plan to make it easily removable (probably fastened with bolts and wing nuts), so I can easily convert it into a flatbed.

    By now you’re probably be asking yourself, good lord why?! Well that seems obvious enough: I want to move stuff by bike! But what, you ask? Well, first and foremost, I had my telescope in mind. Being able to find a nice dark sky is difficult at the best of times. But for one such as myself who has stubbornly, some might say, cowardly… ly managed to avoid getting his driver’s license, this is especially true (unless you want to drag your unwilling, license-possessing wife along). A trailer makes it possible for me to transport my scope by bicycle. Combined with some camping gear, I may have finally found a way to burn some of those holidays I have stashed away.

    Of course, I’m sure there are many other things I’ll find the need to move: groceries, construction materials, slave children. That sort of thing. In fact, I’ve already used it to recover some scrap 2x4’s and 2x6’s from local construction sites (it worked quite well, I’m happy to say). Heck, I’ll probably have fun just coming up with new reasons to tow stuff around.