Archive for construction

Hundred Million Dollar House

Posted in Lucerne Village with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 17, 2012 by javedbabar

“Do you want mahogany window frames?”

“Shall I varnish this door with pearlescent coating?”

“Do you prefer a seamed metal roof for the garage, or diamond pattern?”

“Which colour siding looks best, dark blue or brown? The brown is eco-paint, which is twice the price.”

“Shall we install a 50 kilowatt diesel generator?”

“Do you want fibre-optic cable?”

“How about a vertical closed loop geothermal field?”

The other workers ribbed David continuously. They kept asking him for decisions concerning the hundred million dollar house. The plans for the house were drawn, stamped and approved already, but it was a game they enjoyed playing.

Sometimes they went too far and David became moody, but it was his own fault really. He had started the joke that he was the owner of the house, and had joined the crew to ensure they did a good job. They had no idea who the owner was, as he was obscured by lawyers and managers, so they happily played along.

They never did what David said though. In fact they often did the opposite, for which he said he would fire them later. This made them laugh.

As the house neared completion, sign-off was needed for various components. The lawyers said that the owner was unavailable, and the builders should just proceed as contractually agreed.

“God damn those lawyers!” said the foreman. “They tell us to carry on as if its child’s play. Sure we know what we’re doing, I am a third generation builder, but we need to confirm they are happy with the work so far. It will be mighty expensive making changes later.”

“Well, why don’t you ask me? I am here,” said David.

“Quit fooling around now. I’m not in the mood. There’s millions of dollars at stake. It’s not a game.”

“Okay,” said David, walking away. “I was just trying to help.”

“Well then shut your mouth and stick your help up your ass!” The foreman was annoyed, but then forgot about it.

Some days later he thought, what if David really is the owner? That would explain a few things. We give him the crappiest jobs: mudding and taping, sweeping and washing, rubbish and recycling, but he’s always smiling. He’s never had a day off and never gets annoyed. He knows a lot about construction, more than any casual laborer should. What if he really is the boss?

The foreman called him over. “Tell me honestly, son, are you the owner of this house?”

A smile crossed David’s lips, but also a look of horror. “No, I am not.”

The foreman could tell when someone was lying. He knew that David was lying.

After that, they did whatever David said. They installed marble steps and copper railings. They lengthened the swimming pool. They built a root cellar. They added gables.

When the house was finished, they met the owner, Daniel, an older man from the city. He shouted at them, saying, “Why the hell did you make all those changes? They were not on the plan!”

Daniel was pleased with the job his nephew David had done. He’d got them to make many expensive changes that he wasn’t going to pay for. He’d also demand a discount on the house, maybe ten percent. David’s commission would come out of that. It would help him finish acting school.

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Lightning Strikes

Posted in Lucerne Village, Sacred Geometry with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on September 29, 2012 by javedbabar

The previous Building Control Officer had approved many big projects. Looking through the files, Shama saw a 500 metre suspension bridge, a moated castle in the forest, and a medium sized Chinese palace.

Whether any of these had ever been built was hard to say. Admin was not his predecessor’s strong suit. There were partially legible application forms and “APPROVED” stamps, but very few maps, plans, budgets or schedules.

A file named “SKYSCRAPER” caught his eye. It was, fittingly, near the top of the very tall stack of applications on his desk. There were also further documents in the file. Not too many but enough to make his eyes pop.

They detailed a thousand metre high skyscraper in the shape of a lightning bolt, to be built over ten years, with a budget of $1 billion. He checked the file’s status. It said “APPROVED” Was this a joke? Did somebody really intend to build it in the valley?

The map indicated that the site was in the Upper Valley, around the bend at Camel Mountain. If it was being built, that’s why he hadn’t seen it – it wasn’t yet visible, but it certainly would be when topped out.

Shama jumped into his truck and drove to the Upper Valley. He thought,  you can’t have a structure like that here! It will overwhelm everything in the valley!

But then he thought, would it really? Maybe the sculpture would form a relationship with natural features, the mountains, forests and rivers, and the sky, which produced the lightning providing its inspiration. Didn’t such firebolts connect heaven and earth?

As he rounded Camel Mountain, the structure came into view. It was almost complete! But it wasn’t a thousand metres high – nowhere near. Arcadian firs nearby were almost its equal.

They must have changed plans. Shama didn’t know if he was relieved or disappointed.

The construction site was filled with activity. Crews were working at full speed. Shama asked for the foreman. A carpenter pointed to the top of the lightning bolt. “You can go up,” he said. “He isn’t coming down this morning.”

“It’s been a strange project,” said the foreman. “It started off as the world’s tallest building. I’m amazed that the plans were even approved. Rumour has it that the client is the same person who approved it – Lucerne’s old Building Control Officer. It has nothing to do with the village though; it is an entirely private project.

“Have you ever met him?” asked Shama.

“I can’t say that I have. But I’ll tell you this. If he can afford to build this structure, then he’s done pretty well for himself. You’ve chosen a good profession, my friend. I get the impression there are many benefits to the job.”

He winked and continued, “But you can’t take it with you, he knows that. I’ve heard he’s sick; really sick. This is going to be his memorial, but he’s only got one year left, not ten like he’d thought. That’s why it’s going to be one hundred metres high, and not a thousand, and the budget’s been cut to one hundred million. But if we get it done in time, we all get to share what’s left.”

He made a move to go, saying, “Nice to meet you, but I must get back to work now. This is one project that is definitely coming in on time and on budget. We’ve never had a nine hundred million dollar incentive before.”

Crazy Mixed Up Fun

Posted in Classic Sci-Fi, Lucerne Village, Mystical Experience, Sacred Geometry with tags , , , , , , , , , , on September 28, 2012 by javedbabar

Shama was enjoying his new job as Lucerne’s Building Control Officer. He was unqualified for the role but they were in desperate need, and his casual labour experience had somehow made him top contender.

He pulled a file from the stack that arose from his desk towards the heavens. It was marked “GIANT SCULPTURE” and stamped “STAGE ONE APPROVED”.

Details however were scanty. There was an undated MOA, Memorandum of Understanding, between Lucerne Village and Guru Baba’s office saying that a “giant sculpture” could be built “in the centre of the valley” whose “precise form and dimensions are yet to be determined.” The document was yellowed, with strong key impressions and whiteouts, with no diagrams or illustrative references. It seemed manually typewritten many years back.

How could a giant structure be approved without any details at all? For all they knew it could be a giant swastika, or a huge phallus. Someone was just pushing problems down the line. The buck must stop somewhere, and as BCO it was most likely with him.

No wonder the previous guy had disappeared. It seemed he was mixed up in shady business, letting people build whatever they wanted, probably in exchange for “donations” from Guru Baba’s people or construction companies. But would Guru Baba, one of the world’s leading holy men, really be involved in a dodgy scheme? It was probably the builders.

Shama had seen a large scaffold near the middle of the valley, and trucks entering the worksite, and also a crane. Good for them, he’d thought back then, creating high-paying local jobs. It must be there. They may have half-built it already; he had better take a look.

The security guard wouldn’t let him on site. He called the project manager, who roared up ten minutes later. He was an Indian fellow wearing an orange hard hat. “Hello, I am Karamchand. I hear you are the new BCO. Are you new in town? Welcome to the valley!”

Shama was surprised by his friendliness; he was not surly or secretive at all. “I am interested in the sculpture construction,” he said. “How is Stage One progressing?”

“It is taking longer than we expected.” Karamchand winked at Shama. “But who is counting, hey?”

So there is some funny business, thought Shama. Stretching out the construction schedule, drawing out funds. Maybe it’s money laundering.

Shama felt that he should leave, but his curiosity got the better of him. He said, “What is it going to be? My documents seem to be incomplete.”

The complex scaffold gave no clue to the hidden structure’s purpose. What he discerned was a huge cube and wheel. He had heard the expression “squaring the circle”. Was it something to do with that?

“Oh yes, of course. You are new. I have only been working on the project for ten years myself, but I will tell you what I know.” Shama looked around. The entire construction crew was Indian.

“Guru Baba has designed the structure based upon Vedic mathematics, with associated mantras and yantras built into the forms. It is a fusion of East and West, and inspired by the word fun, which means art in Hindi. It is a Rubik’s Cube with four hundred and thirty two faces, each one of which rotates in turn – one every thousand years. Its structural dynamics and electromagnetics ensure that there will be zero wear and tear.

“All permutations are accounted for. In four hundred and thirty two thousand years, it will complete one cycle, and mark the end of Kali Yuga – the current Dark Age. Of course we are part way through this Age already, so we will start the cycle five thousand years in. I will detail all this for you in the Stage Two MOA.”