Thursday, June 17, 2010


I remember my days as a lad, when I was young enough to act like a kid, yet big enough to inflict some real pain on my dad. Nothing too major, just jumping down onto him from the top of the sofa while he watched M.A.S.H. or some similar TV show. Paybacks are a bitch.

I should have seen it coming when my sister had her son Josh. When he was about 4 years old, we were sitting in a hammock and my nephew just wound up and clocked me right in the jaw. For no apparent reason.

And then when he was 7, he had one of those yo-yo type toys that isn't really a yo-yo, but it's more like elastic plastic in a string with a squishy thing on the end that looks like a mace. We were playing tug of war with the thing and I was holding the squishy mace end. Josh let go of the other end, the smaller end that goes around your finger, and it snapped back from at least 8 feet across the room directly into my eyeball. Ouch. I had to go to an opthamologist to make sure the blurryness would go away at some point.

And now that my own son is big enough to bring the pain, I'm getting doses of it all the time. He's been into doing some variant of the pro wrestler body slam, and he's into tackling me as soon as I walk in the door from work.

But usually the damage involves some type of swordplay. I bought him a toy lightsaber a while back. One that has sections that expand into full lightsaber glory, and then retracts for ease of using the force by some other means. I got clipped on more than one occasion as he flicked it forward to expand it. Needless to say, the lightsaber has spent many days on the shelf where the boy is unable to reach.

Judah got creative and found a cardboard tube from the middle of a gift wrap roll to use as a sword. I didn't see any harm in that, and getting hit by some cardboard was no big deal. He modified the ends of the cardboard sword with some medium-sized Legos, so it would have a flashy factor to it. I grabbed the lightsaber down from the shelf and we got into our stances, ready to duel. With one good clash of the swords, the Legos flew off the end of his sword, smacking me directly on the lips. Drew blood and everything. I'll never learn.

Thursday, June 03, 2010

Paper Cuts

My inner Martha Stewart got a chance to come out and play the other week when I attempted to build a satellite dish out of paper. The impetus for the arts and crafts session was to remedy my home wireless reception. Which was turning out to be not much reception at all.

Upon finding out that I'd somehow landed a project to be edited at home, I cleared out the storage room behind our garage to use as my studio. Bought shelves for the boxes that would need to move elsewhere. Bought some decent speakers, a desk and a chair. And because the garage isn't connected to the house, but is not too far away, I assumed that the wireless signal would have no problem reaching me back there. Wrong.

I spent a few days with erratic wifi signal before I started looking online for a solution. I didn't want to spend the money on a wifi booster, but even more I didn't want to deal with Best Buy or wait for a shipment, so I searched the internet until I found a homemade solution: A satellite dish made out of paper.

The website contained detailed instructions for printing the satellite pieces from your home printer, cutting on the lines and folding specific areas together, pasting some aluminum foil on the back, and dropping it onto the antenna of the router. Simple.

Except I neglected to read the part about printing it on card stock. So I thought of the next best thing and attempted to paste the pieces onto card stock. Nevermind the fact that I could have just printed it over again onto some card stock, my inertia was rolling too fast to do the sensible thing.

I got out the x-acto knife and cutting board and started cutting the cardstock along the lines of the paper. So far so good. Slice along this line, slice along that. Along one of the longer lines, the slicing was going pretty fast, and the knife ran off the cutting board, off the table, and into my leg. Stabbed me right in the upper thigh.

Because the kiddies and the wife were already asleep, I had to keep the pain noises to a minimum. And because of the ridiculousness of the situation - me sitting in the kitchen bleeding while executing an arts and crafts wifi satellite - I had to keep the laughing to a muffled chuckle. I found a bandage, and soon I found the wifi reception bars in my studio at full strength. Success.