12/30/10 (18:43)
  • bowl season has been decent so far this year. arizona lost as expected. it's plausible that the pac-10 could only win one of their bowl games this year. i think the most likely victory is stanford over va tech. washington and arizona are both outmatched and you already know how i feel about oregon. of course i'd like it if they all won, but that's fairly unlikely.
  • i've had this week off and have been working on catching up on all sorts of things. recorded a bunch of ask this old house episodes to dvd for my archive which is nice. also closing in on my 300 movies a year goal. also working on getting all the stuff finished around the house. at this point all we need to do to finish up with the kitchen is to prime and paint the trim around the exterior door and paint some of the baseboards. shouldn't take much longer and then we will have finished the foyer, kitchen, and bathroom. it'll be nice to have four areas (those three plus the garage) 100% done.
  • next year's big projects are basically all in the back of the house: the utility room off meryl's art room (called the animal room because it used to smell like an animal lived in there), the bathroom (which we will likely expand and open up into the bedroom), and the laundry room (which needs flooring and trim).

  • 12/27/10 (19:47)

  • the ncaa continues to show its values and where its priorities are with the recent crack down on osu players. it's one of those cases where two wrongs actually make a right: 5 osu players sold jerseys, etc. for personal profit and were caught. everyone knows you can't do this, no one reasonable thinks it's right. so the ncaa punishes them by suspending them for 5 games (too much) next year (huh?). not the upcoming bowl game, but next year. pryor may leave for the nfl this year which would make his suspension worthless and if it's such a big deal why wouldn't they suspend them for this year? the answer is money, as usual. vegas would have a fucking fit if 5 players were taken out of the bowl game all of a sudden. there's a lot of action in the hopper already and the bowl game would take a serious hit if the suspensions were to take affect this year. so they did the thing they knew would make the most monetary sense - defer punishment until next year. worthless assholes.

  • 12/27/10 (12:17)

  • dad came up for xmas eve and we had lunch with sarah. that was an event.
  • xmas day meryl and i stayed in and watched movies all day. that's our new tradition and it's fine by me. had chinese food and snacks; it was grand.
  • yesterday we did some work around the house. got the cabinet trim up in the kitchen, and worked on some more finishing touches in the bathroom like installing the vent to the exterior of the house. would have loved a 4" diamond core bit for that, but i made it work without one. we should be able to finish up the kitchen/bathroom/foyer before the end of the year. we worked on our 2011 goals list and it's a lot, but doable.
  • after house work we went to the movies for a triple feature. 3 films for the price of one. i'm now at 99 movies in the theater for the year and only have a few more movies to get to 300.
  • niners ended their season yesterday. singletary is gone today. i think it's the right move, but i don't necessarily love it. i'd like it if he could stay on as defensive coordinator, but that's a tough pill to swallow and the dynamic of an ex-head coach in the locker room would be weird. we have no continuuity at the qb position or the offensive coordinator position and that has been our undoing for the last several years. figure those things out and we could be a playoff team. jimmy raye was singletary's downfall. if he had kept martz i believe we would be in the playoffs this year and singletary would still be in charge.

  • 12/23/10 (18:00)

  • today was a day off at work, but i had to go in to let the carpet cleaning crew in. also did nine hours of slate patio repair. the front patio area is looking pretty good now. hopefully i'll get in there again in the next month or so to do the back patio which has more fundamental problems. it's really nice having my own rotohammer and tile saw.

  • 12/21/10 (17:15)

  • bathtub glass enclosure was installed today. looks pretty nice.
  • work is slow this week. hopefully it doesn't rain on thursday so i can get some work done on the slate patio again. we'll see. now that i have my own tile saw and rotohammer i can do it on my own schedule which is nice.
  • sarah is supposed to come over to make some fudge tonight. i think i should schedule these things earlier so that they start when i want them to.
  • we had a couple issues with the bathroom sink, but the manufacturer has stepped up in a big way to make sure that things go smooth from now on so that's really encouraging. assuming they follow through, porcher will be a brand i can recommend for the foreseeable future.

  • 12/20/10 (12:03)

  • was listening to npr today and they were talking about the don't ask don't tell vote. the most fascinating moment came on this exchange with a caller and neil conan and had nothing to do with the policy. neil: "where were you when you found out about the vote?" caller: "ha. i was on facebook, actually."
  • i don't think most people would find these two lines of interest at all, but it was telling to me. this guy actually thought that he was at a real place called facebook when he heard the news. he didn't say "i was at home and i found out by looking on facebook." am i being too literal? i don't think so. if someone asked me where i was when i first heard the news i wouldn't have said "i was on npr, actually." i would say "i was in my truck driving to home depot. i found out while listening to npr." facebook is an actual place to some people; pretty pathetic.
  • the entire house has been a learning process and the bathroom hasn't been any exception. several things that i look back at and think "i would have done that differently." we have another bathroom to do so hopefully i'll make different mistakes when the time comes for that one.

  • 12/19/10 (14:22)

  • trying to get odds and ends done this weekend while meryl is gone. haven't been entirely successful. getting stuff from my personal list checked off, but haven't been as good on the house stuff. keep getting thwarted at every turn. frustrating.
  • i don't have much problem with wikileaks. they seem to be doing the job that reporters don't do anymore. i think assange is getting a bad rap because governments don't like him. whatever happens with him and his "sex by surprise" case, i hope that wikileaks sticks around.
  • i said years ago that michael vick could be really great if he was on a team that knew how to make an offense for him or if he learned how to become a prototypical pocket-passer. it seems he's found a bit of both in philly. i believe in redemption. he did his time. all the more power to him. rod blagojevich is a worse person in my book.
  • rain has been off and on this weekend. windy too.

  • 12/16/10 (20:10)

  • pretty rough day today. everything i did fought me all the way. would have liked to get the bathroom all done (except for the door), but things didn't work out. used the wrong bits to drill through some tile (turns out i had the right bits in the garage, but didn't realize it) so that took a long time and didn't get great results. hopefully the escutcheon covers the back-splayed tile. several other things with the bathroom trim stage also weren't working out. not even going to bother to detail them here as no one cares.
  • got a message from my boss that a shelf i put up fell down so i went into work around 530 and fixed that.
  • was supposed to make fudge with sarah today, but that didn't pan out.
  • yesterday i took the nabcep test and did ok. we'll see if i pass. if not then it's $100 down the drain.
  • hopeful that this weekend i'll finish up the bathroom and get started on the kitchen.

  • 12/12/10 (10:51)

  • going to the niners game today. it's a must win for them to stay alive. shocking that they still have a chance, but they do. it'll be only my third pro game ever. saw the rams play the falcons once when they were in la. then i saw the raiders play the bengals (think that was the matchup, but i remember it was the game that effectively ended bo jackson 's career).
  • the bathroom is useable now. need to get the shower up and running, but have to wait for the enclosure anyway. making progress.

  • 12/11/10 (22:30)

  • meryl had work most of the day so i worked on my own. got the sink and toilet installed. there were a few issues with each (one supply line didn't work, drilling through the tile was a pain, incorrectly installed the faucet (forgot the escutcheon), etc.), but they're pretty much done now. had to take a couple trips to home depot as well.
  • the good news is that i listened to a lot of music which was nice. i don't listen to as much music as i used to and that's too bad.

  • 12/09/10 (11:50)

  • door by kitchen has had problems ever since we had it stuccoed. i'm wondering if they waterproofed it correctly. also not thrilled by the door itself. i shouldn't have tried to stucco the area below the door myself because they just went over what i did and it looks kinda crappy. basically that entire side of the house is an eyesore to me and i'd like to have it redone by real stucco guys.
  • got some quotes on the putting in a glass shower enclosure. likely to be way more than i want to spend, but meryl's pretty set on the idea and i admit it will definitely look nice.

  • 12/07/10 (21:03)

  • hortencia came over to study for the nabcep test with me today. not looking forward to that test so hopefully i pass it the first time around because i don't think i'm going to take it again.
  • we finished the bathroom tile. things are moving along pretty well lately. still need to figure out the stain color formula for the entry way trim. also need to install all the fixtures in the bathroom and trim the kitchen, but hopefully we can finish that by year's end
  • working on updating the pictures right now.
  • been watching the up series from beginning to end lately. 35up is next, seen it and 42up before, but don't remember them. 49up is out and new to me, but is also 3 hours. yikes. wish they had an edit that didn't recap everything from the previous installments. i understand that each one was made as if you were watching it for the first time or hadn't seen the others for 7+ years, but it's the dvd age now so we can watch them whenever we want so maybe 56up will be trimmed a bit.
  • busy as usual. hopefully only have another year of this before i can relax again and get back to watching movies, etc.

  • 12/04/10 (09:38)

  • haven't written in a while.
  • thanksgiving was so-so. did a lot of work and running around during the break. thanksgiving is a bad time, too, because the ride to and from la is usually packed so you have to leave real early/late in order to miss the traffic.
  • we finished the kitchen backsplash the other day and it looks pretty nice. still need trim and the pass through in the kitchen before it's done.
  • worked on the bathroom on wednesday. it's coming along. hopefully just another full day of tiling. the trim around the tile looks pretty sharp. it was an additional cost and took more time, but i think it looks pretty nice.
  • movie goal is far off this year. doable, but i have a lot of flicks to watch to get to 300.
  • NABCEP test is on the 15th so i have to start studying for that a bit too. class, work, house, movies, college football, end of year awards for webpage...tough time of year for me.
  • slept wrong the other night and my neck has been stiff the last two days.
  • meryl's working on painting her brother's apartment this morning so hopefully i can catch up on movie reviews and get a little work done.
  • uninspired by the potential auburn/oregon matchup. would have much preferred to see boise state in the mix, but i guess that wouldn't have happened no matter what. since i was old enough to remember my parents told me that life isn't fair, but it never completely settles in because hope is one of those emotions that never fully goes away (for better or worse). maybe that's what becoming an adult is about - completely abandoning hope and fairness for the reality that those are mirages.
  • anyway, i don't see oregon winning the game because auburn will have enough time to figure their offense out. oregon has also been fairly unimpressive of late. would have been nice to see tcu and auburn lose so oregon and stanford would be #1 and #2. what would they do then? they could have had two rose bowl matchups (pac-10/big ten) - oregon vs. wisconsin and stanford vs. ohio state. that would have been funny, but it wouldn't have happened.

  • 11/20/10 (21:30)

  • went to the uc davis/sac state game tonight. first time i had been to the new stadium so that was pretty cool. it was raining pretty hard, though, and started to get really bad at half time. they delayed the start of the third quarter by about 20 minutes because of excessive lightning so we ended up leaving. turned out to be a good game, but only 3 more points were scored after we left. ucd won 17-16.
  • usc lost today. didn't see the game, but they lost by more to osu than to oregon so you figure it out. offense hasn't been real great the last couple games.
  • after the game we went to dinner with a couple of meryl's friends and then drove back home.

  • 11/20/10 (13:49)

  • finished the tile backsplash about 5 minutes ago. will be ready for grout tomorrow so i'll probably do that while meryl is gone and then i need to run some electrical and cut a little filler piece for the space to be ready for the new stove. it's nice to move back to the kitchen and get some things done. unfortunately the bathroom has been taking forever.

  • 11/19/10 (17:29)

  • worked for my boss' mom the other day doing some handyman work around her rental property. installed a handrail, fixed some flooring, recaulked around a bathtub and did some other minor fixes. home maintenance is something i prefer to do over home renovation. it's nice to come in and knock out 5-6 things in a day of varying size/importance rather than accomplish one big thing over the course of a month or more.
  • today we had someone recut the granite by the stove. had we purchased the stove/oven before the granite went in we wouldn't have had the extra cost now, but it wasn't in the budget to buy a stove back then so it had to wait until now.
  • my cousin sean came to visit this weekend and he helped us around the house. we installed a little shelf in the kitchen for cooking books, started tiling the backsplash, and cut down some white board which eventually became a large calendar after meryl was done with it. still need to run some electrical to the new stove (it requires 120v), adjust the range hood, finish the backsplash tile by the sink and grout. this is now priority number one so that we can get to cooking again.
  • raining today.
  • gotta watch 48 movies by the end of the year. also gotta get back to working on my top 25.

  • 11/12/10 (17:14)

  • paid someone to take out the stump from the front yard. thought he had a stump grinder and was going to do it that way, but he did it by hand and with a chainsaw. took him a while, but it's pretty much gone at this point. not quite what i was hoping for, but it did the job. that stump was pretty impressive and i'm glad we cut down the tree when we did. it already did a number on the house and driveway; it could have been worse.
  • had a productive couple days while i was off wed. and thu. finished putting up the trim on the kitchen window and around the hallway-kitchen door. this weekend my cousin is coming to visit and i hope to put him to work helping us get the backsplash up in the kitchen.
  • we also did a bunch of tiling in the bathroom. go the rest of the walls mostly done so now we just need to tile the edges - top of the shower enclosure, top of the chair rail (including the trim pieces), and a few pieces around the tub. another day or two depending upon how easy the trim is to work with.

  • 11/9/10 (18:19)

  • kinda tired of the way the media goes after celebrities as modern day sacrifices. people like britney spears or reggie bush and now cam newton. i'm not an sec guy and if he's currently a cheater or if auburn knew about the money he supposedly got to go to auburn, then the public hanging is in order. however, there's all this speculation and dealing with the situation as if he's already guilty. the cheating at different school two years ago thing is just bogus. i don't have a problem with him getting money from an agent, same thing with reggie bush. now if the school knew about it or used it to recruit then it's a different story. wouldn't it be nice, though, if we gave these things some time to breathe and work their way through the legal/investigative system before talking about him being inelligible for the heisman? jeesh.
  • worst day of the year a couple days ago with the time shift and all. blah. get off work at 4pm and it's practically dark. awful.

  • 11/7/10 (15:43)

  • worked at johnny's this weekend. did a stucco patch by two french doors that weren't properly installed by a previous contractor. it wasn't the most proper way in the world to address the issue, but since that wall doesn't get much water and he didn't want to get too invasive, i think what we did will be just fine. he'll add geocel 2300 after the concrete cures and it'll be pretty water tight after that and some paint.
  • also put in a post and re-hung a gate that wasn't working for a while. also ran a new cat 5 wire from the router to a switch and then to his office. fairly productive day and a half and it was good to hang out with the santa cruz people, especially on claire's birthday.
  • had originally planned on working on some tile when i got back, but meryl is still at her dad's so i think that's not going to happen tonight. maybe it'll be a football night or something.

  • 11/5/10 (23:02)

  • worked on tiling yesterday. got a good amount done. two walls to go, plus the trim. i'm guessing three more days because i'm not sure how the trim will go.
  • going to johnny's tomorrow to work on his improperly installed doors. going to patch some stucco and try to make it as waterproof as possible given the circumstances and fact that he doesn't want to get too invasive at this stage.

  • 11/2/10 (20:01)

  • republicans looking like they're going to get majority in house, probably not senate. maybe this will be a good thing for obama.
  • saw the usc game saturday. was pretty good for about three quarters. oregon is really tough in the second half. heard a stat that they outscore their opponents like 120-23 in the second half. usc scored 14 in the second half so that's pretty good. defense was suspect once again and a late turnover killed any chance of a comeback. barkley had a bad game. oregon's qb doesn't make some of the easy passes, but manages the game well.
  • have to work tomorrow so we won't be doing any tiling. thursday will be tiling day. hope to get a large chunk done so we can move on. the bathroom has really dragged along in the last few months because of the work we're doing for other people, the road to hana run/training, and other little projects that have come up.

  • dog is whining and barking as usual.

    10/24/10 (19:35)

  • today was a shitty day. still raining. found a leak in meryl's art room. finished off work for meryl's organizing project for her ex-teacher. tiled before and after going there for that. niners lost.
  • the leak in the art room is the result of a poor stucco patch so we're not going to hire rafael next time we need stucco to patched. pretty disappointed by this. he's a nice guy and he works hard, but i don't think he quite gets all that needs to be done for a good job. when we patch the stucco on the back of the house we'll revisit the area above the art room window which has failed. blah.
  • decent amount of tiling was done considering we had to break in the middle of the day for the other job.
  • niners can't do anything right. secondary is suspect and no alex smith means they're even worse than before. to all the niners fans who were chanting "we want carr," how do you feel now? david carr has been in the league for 9 years and had a stable situation and arguably the best receiver in the league in andre johnson, but didn't do any better than smith who has had 6 offensive coordinators, has lost the starting position a couple times, injury problems, and a couple head coaches. there's no doubt to me that smith is better equipped for this team. not to say that he's great, but he's better than carr and probably the best we got.
  • wanted the phillies to win last night but that didn't happen. not sure why howard didn't protect the plate on a questionable pitch. when i doubt, swing and hit it foul. i thought that was the prevailing wisdom. giants are a tough team and are the perfect team for the playoffs because they've got some timely hitting and solid pitching. having sluggers like howard and a-rod doesn't seem to matter much because it seems like they go cold 50% of the time. give me a guy like cody ross or aaron boone or luis gonzalez who hits a little hot streak at the right time over a slugger. sluggers get you to the playoffs, but tend not to win it for you.
  • yesterday i went to school for NABCEP test prep. it was a long 4 hours and i didn't get that much out of it. i don't think i'll continue to go. perhaps once or twice more if the teacher (different teacher than the one that teaches my other two classes) allows me to go without paying/enrolling. just not worth the time on the weekend.

  • 10/22/10 (17:04)

  • six people were laid off from work this week. pretty fucked up stuff. at the beginning of the year they had a meeting and said that the person who was let go in january was the only one and that they took action soon so that we wouldn't be waiting for the other shoe to drop. obviously they were wrong and the other shoe dropped in a big way. i'd be willing to take a 10% cut if the management team would do the same. that's not going to happen. pretty sure i'm safe. i do the work of two part time people and our department makes money and is only three people, so there's not much room to cut. rough stuff.
  • "I think sufficient proof must now exist that over-priced movie stars do little besides leaving an insufficient amount of money to make the film properly, or cause an unnecessarily high picture cost. A recent 'Variety' study, published during the past year, showed the domestic grosses of the last four films by a group of top stars were not sufficient to return even the star's salary, computed at a recoupment rate of 2.5 to 1. On the other hand, films like 'Dr. Zhivago', '2001', 'The Graduate' and many others show that people go to see good films that they enjoy, and that the main impetus of going to the movies." - stanley kubrick, from the screenplay to the uncompleted film "napoleon"

  • 10/21/10 (17:52)

  • started raining a bit a little while ago. definitely feels more like fall now. blah.
  • thinking i'm going to take the NABCEP test after i'm done with the solar panel class. evidently it's quite hard, but it wouldn't hurt to have another notch in the belt and another option should anything happen at the alumni house or whatever. it's all about creating options for yourself.
  • neighbor is getting his house painted. talked with painter about a quote for our place. don't think we'll get it done, but it doesn't hurt to get an idea what the cost is.
  • going to la next weekend to see usc get pounded by the #1 team in the country. i think that'll be the first home loss i've seen in person in like 10 years. quite a run.

  • 10/17/10 (11:03)

  • started raining today. too bad because today we had planned on taking care of some under the house stuff, including a termite treatment on the northeast corner of the house. now we'll have to figure out something else.
  • sarah should be here soon with eli to help us move the new stove/oven into the house.
  • was in the paper again the other day. again because of my dmv letter.
  • hate the rain and fall and winter. pretty soon the time will shift and it'll be dark at 2pm or whatever and for the next several months life will be basically awful. blah.

  • 10/16/10 (14:24)

  • meryl had an art fair this morning so i worked on the house alone. finally painted the patched stucco from the roofing job. still have two spots i need to do. one i missed and one is on the side of the house, not sure how i'm going to get to it.
  • usc game is on, but i can't get it on the tv; might be how we setup the satellite, unsure. 42-0 at the half which is nice. good rebound for us. very surprised by score for two reasons. cal's defense is decent so 42 points in one half is pretty ridiculous. also, usc's defense sucks so to shut out cal for the first half is impressive. nice to hear that usc is rebounding from two last second losses in a row. barkley seems to have really cleaned up his game this year. last year i was down on him because he would make a great play and then a bonehead play. unlike alex smith, he seems to have learned.
  • i feel real bad for alex smith, but at what point do we have to get rid of the guy? niners are depressing ever since garcia left.
  • tried hooking up a new router, but it's not working. i'm officially too old to learn anything new on computers. hate them.

  • 10/15/10 (17:29)

  • feds look like they're going to crack down on ca if prop 19 passes. sarah's boyfriend and i have a bet on this and it looks like i'm going to lose if prop. 19 passes. i figured that holder and obama were reasonable people and would respect states' rights on this issue, but perhaps not. obama is a true dickhole and hypocrite if he goes after california on this. our government is a fucking joke.
  • saw a black angels song on a commerical for some video game yesterday. they've done a couple great tracks so good for them.

  • 10/12/10 (17:34)

  • had my letter to the editor of oakland tribune in the paper today. i complained about the dmv and other govt. institutions being behind the times and suggested the papers do a series on the issue. they didn't get some of my punctuation correct, but it was the same as i wrote it other than that.

  • 10/10/10 (21:34)

  • so alabama loses by two touchdowns and they only drop to number 8? whatever. michigan state, utah and lsu should be higher. they should also have some sort of grading built into the voting for the ap, coaches, and usa today polls. if you're dumb enough to vote for texas as the #1 team in the country for the first four weeks and then they lose two in a row, your vote should count for less. my sister could pick a better top 25 than some of these assholes.
  • niners lost another close one. four games decided by 3 points or less for my football teams in the last 8 days. it's depressing.
  • worked on meryl's dad's place today. they had new granite installed so we hooked up the faucet and garbage disposal, etc. also did a couple other little things.

  • 10/9/10 (22:08)

  • went to work this morning for the homecoming crap. seemed pretty slow on campus actually.
  • went to palo alto to see the usc/stanford game. great game, maybe the best i've been to, but it didn't go our way. defense is really struggling and just seems lost this year. offense is great, though. kiffin jr. made some great playcalls and showed big balls at times. if the defense was half as good as it was even last year (which was a bad year) then we'd be undefeated right now. but that's not how it works. we didn't calls going our way either, which was too bad. stanford was fairly mean spirited and really seems to hate usc for some reason. stanford has won three of the last four times we've played so them rushing the field after beating us on the last play, at home, when they were favored by double digits seemed odd. weird fans for sure. being double digit underdogs was odd for usc, first time in 12 years apparently. that's a pretty amazing run.
  • i've had my teams lose three times in the last week on last second field goals. twice from usc and once from the niners. not a great feeling.

  • 10/8/10 (17:33)

  • very cool project.
  • had the remake of "creep" stuck in my head the last two days. music is great, but it seems to get stuck in my head very easily.
  • going to start counting down the song rating project, rather than counting up. setup a smart playlist that screens out all unrated songs and i'll just use that from now on. should be more efficient and it'll (easily) give me a number that i can use to count down from.
  • working tomorrow for homecoming. blah.

  • 10/7/10 (18:13)

  • busy busy busy.
  • it's homecoming week so work has been more hectic than usual. this weekend i have to work and then i'm going to the usc/stanford game with dad. it'll be my first game in palo alto so i guess it won't be a total loss. i expect a 49-24 type of loss. my football teams are sucking this year.
  • roy halladay is my favorite baseball player, not sure if i've mentioned that here before or not. i make it a point to get him every year on my fantasy team and that's about the only reason i participate in that losing venture. yesterday he single-handedly beat a playoff team - got a hit, an rbi, a run. also pitched a no-hitter and allowed only one walk in nine innings. he's a beast.
  • still slowly working on rating all my music. i've added about 900 songs since the last time i did a progress report in june, but i also rated about 5400 songs in that time. slow but steady wins the race i guess. i had rated 24.9% of the songs in june and i've rated 38.3% of them now.
  • working on a plan for putting solar panels on our roof. it's part of a class project more than my actually planning it because i'm going to do it. took measurements of the roof including vents, etc. pitch wasn't as much as i thought - 25 degrees which is between a 5/12 and a 6/12 pitch. worse on the front gable, but haven't measured that one.
  • this weekend will work on meryl's dad's house and do work for alumni house. next weekend hope to work on meryl's mom's house (new roof on garage). weekend after that it'll be more tiling in our bathroom. bathroom has taken longer than i had hoped, primarily because the distraction level is high.
  • lincecum also had a good outing today. good for him.
  • going to try to get better (again) about updating and uploading pictures.
  • there are a few programs i need to get, but haven't been able to locate. good ftp prog, nero, full adobe acrobat, and add vice versa to the list for backing up my system. also bought a new router and switch that i'm going to try to setup. definitely getting older because computer stuff is less and less within my grasp. have always hated software end of things and that's where all the problems are these days.
  • it's tough keeping up with a few different jobs, homework, school, movies goals, time off, and all the other things that happen in life. next year i'm going to make a more concerted effort to get better at balancing off time and busy time.

  • june progress:
    stars # of songs % of total
    1 481 5.5
    2 4979 57.8
    3 2098 24.3
    4 691 7.7
    5 361 4.1
    8610 24.9

    october progress:
    stars # of songs % of total
    1 790 5.6
    2 8064 57.6
    3 3387 24.2
    4 1180 8.4
    5 586 4.2
    14007 38.3

    9/28/10 (17:59)

  • well, i got out of jury duty. the case involved a guy who was accused of two DUIs within two weeks and one involved a hit and run. the defense gave me the boot on his third go round. on the first go round he ousted an fbi agent (presumably because he's law enforcement), then he got rid of a guy who was the victim of some robbery. the prosecutor got rid of two people who point blank said that they wouldn't trust the word of the chp because they've had bad experiences with them in the past. i think i got the boot because i'm a teetotaler and i mentioned that my mom had been hit by a drunk driver. they ask a bunch of questions about your drinking habits and the drinking habits of those around you for dui cases. it was remarkable to see how many people had pretty bad experiences with alcohol in their life. one whose friend was killed by a drunk driver, two people who had family die because of too much drinking, almost everyone knew an alcoholic. it was also interesting that the lawyers and judge were quite direct with their questioning. in order to establish partiality they would just ask people if they could be impartial when hearing testimony from a chp officer. they didn't beat around the bush to try to get to the truth. pretty interesting stuff overall. if i didn't have work to do for meryl's dad/stepmom and a dmv appointment (that i booked 5 weeks ago) tomorrow, then i would have liked to stay on and be a part of it.
  • it's an inefficient system, but at least they were nice. they make you do a lot of waiting and you don't really know what's happening next, but the people were good and thankful for your service so that made the pill easier to swallow. i also found out why i got two jury summons within a month of each other.
  • tomorrow i get to deal with the dmv. i think jury duty and dealing with the dmv may be the two most despised government interactions of the average citizen.
  • good to see singletary act on my advice quickly to get rid of jimmy raye. hopefully the new guy can hit the ground running.
  • updated the pics and movies pages.
  • worked on the bathroom floor today. grouted it and will wash off the haze tomorrow. looks pretty good. walls are next. then sink and toilet installation, fine tune the door, figure out the shower enclosure situation and install some various hardware (in shower, tp holder, towel holder). can smell the end.

  • 9/26/10 (20:50)

  • bill burr is a funny guy.
  • got a 2 tb drive the other day and am hopefully going to start a backup regime. any suggestions on what software to use?
  • been very busy lately. did some work for meryl's dad/stepmom the other day - little stuff like installing a couple shutters and a wine cooler as well as some drywall repair and getting their stove and sink ready for granite installation. then yesterday meryl and i went to her mom/stepdad's to install a couple pull-up bars and a shear wall in the basement. shear wall went pretty quick and as planned. the pull-up bars took some work to make the holes deep enough (30" each, three posts). next time we're there we're going to work on some paint issues and probably get started on new roofing for their garage. pretty sure we're doing a tear off and reroof so that'll take a good two days. thankfully it's a simple roof with not much pitch.
  • i got two jury summons in the last 6 weeks or so. one is for tomorrow and the other is for october. this is the kind of shit that drives me crazy. called up per the instructions and they said they didn't need me tomorrow, but i should call again. same shit as the last two times i've had a summons. the last one, by the way, was about 51 weeks ago so even though they say you're clear for a year, they jumped the gun a bit. but when i got this one i figured it's not worth fighting. then i get the second one and realized they were just incompetent. so tomorrow i'll call again and see if they need me. hopefully they don't, but if they do i guess it'll be a good experience.
  • worked on the bathroom a bit today. it's ready for grout now. we had a couple of the little squares pop out - one broke in the middle and one didn't have a great bond with the thinset. so we'll wait for that to cure and then grout the floor. we also laid out the plan for the walls and i put down some silicone at the wood floor/tile floor transition as well as at the tub/tile transition.
  • it's going to take like 12 hours to format this 2tb drive. that's crazy.
  • niners looked like crap today. actually i didn't see it, but i listened on the radio so that's probably good enough. they're not making the playoffs. had high hopes for them this year. the talk radio guys were blaming alex smith, jimmy raye, and mike singletary. i'm still a believer in singletary and alex smith is fine enough. never liked jimmy raye. i thought we had a proven guy in mike martz and we should have kept him. that was singletary's fault, but other than that i still like singletary. smith isn't losing games for us right now, but he's also not winning them for us. we have the offensive tools to be a playoff team, but the play-calling isn't there. coaching is the issue right now and that falls on the O.C. singletary needs to realize his weakness and hire a guy who can take over the coaching and play-calling from that end to shore things up. right now it's a joke. it would also be nice if our offensive line could protect better and more consistently. not looking good right now.
  • i'm looking forward to the new fincher film. written by aaron sorkin, directed by fincher and about facebook. i like the first two a lot and couldn't care less about the last one. facebook is overrated. yeah, it's more popular than google, supposedly. yeah, everyone seems to use it and it connects a lot of people, but it's not nearly as important as people seem to think. google is many times more important in my opinion. facebook could disappear tomorrow and people would just move to the next social networking device or go back to email or classmates.com or whatever. in my opinion facebook doesn't actually add any value to the consumer on any major level. it just makes keeping 500 friends easier than before and that is its only major accomplishment from the user's point of view. from an advertising point of view, though, one must admit that it is an extremely important player on the level of google and probably no one else.
  • i'd like to point out that i still use netscape composer to write this page and it's so old that its spell check doesn't recognize "facebook," though it does recognize other technology terms like microsoft or gigabyte.
  • some guy should get a tattoo of his receeding hairline like the growth marks kids put on the wall. so the first line would say 1990, then the next one back would say 1993, then 1996, then in 2000 he'd have the horseshoe outline tattooed on there. that would be funny. or, instead of dates, he could put landmarks like: got married, first kid, second kid, third kid, fired from work, divorced, etc. classic.

  • 9/20/10 (22:14)

  • i've said before that i like ron jaworski as a color analyst for the nfl and he went up another notch in my book today. no one breaks down the game like he does which is why he's my favorite x's and o's guy, but tonight they were talking about the bush heisman issue and he's the only person i've heard so far who has said that bush giving back the heisman was a bad move. he earned the trophy with his play on the field and no perks that he may have gotten should have affected that. this whole issue is ridiculously overblown and the ncaa will probably never redeem itself in my book because of the way they treat the student athletes relative to the way they look out for themselves, big programs, espn and their sponsors. greedy assholes who use this kids like sharecroppers. it's an outrage.

  • 9/18/10 (16:59)

  • finished tiling the floor today. glad we finished in a day, wasn't sure we would. will grout it next and then onto the walls.
  • i'm constantly battling the meter maids in berkeley. thankfully they haven't evolved past the mark-the-tire-with-chalk technique. there are plenty of other ways they could catch people like me if they were serious about it. probably the best method (because it's cheap and easy to implement) i've thought of involves using a special chalk that doesn't show up unless you're wearing special glasses, or perhaps shining a black light on the mark. highlighter would work or they could develop a special chalk and then either wear glasses or build the special glass into the small window on their little vehicles. people like me would go by their car, look for chalk, not see any and then not move their car. the meter maid would come by later and then give us a ticket. i've heard some places have special cameras and software that can log where cars are and that's even better, but it requires more money up front.
  • i thought separate, but equal was inherently unequal, yet we still allow native americans to have reservations. i think the only way they will crawl out of poverty is to welcome them into the fold and eliminate the reservation system. they can own all the land that they currently have, but i don't think they should be under the jurisdiction of the dept. of interior's bureau of indian affairs. it's not working and it's inherently unequal. somehow our treatment of native americans always falls way behind that of women and blacks, but we continue to forget about them. everyone knows when blacks and women were able to vote, but few know when native americans were able to vote. brown vs. board of education is a landmark decision and changed life for blacks, but somehow it has done nothing for native americans.
  • on a related note, the exiles will be on tcm again this month. 9/20 6am est, check it out if you haven't already. i didn't love it, but it's worth watching as an historical document. cassavetes-esque.
  • if anyone has some simple data on religiosity by race that would be nice. found one for first year college students that confirmed my guess (blacks and latinos are more religious than whites and asians), but i want one for the entire country.

  • 9/16/10 (22:17)

  • not sure if i've written about it before, but i've thought about it many a time. i'll call it temporal centrism - the idea that we're living in some amazingly unique time in the history of time. it's perhaps most hilariously exhibited by religious zealots who are certain that the world is going to end while they're alive. yeah, god is choosing the time you're on earth to have the rapture. keep thinking that. and while we're on the topic - i'll bet you your house that the rapture isn't coming any time soon. you KNOW it's happening, so take the bet; you've got nothing to lose. god told you it's happening; it's a sure thing. but this temporal centrism isn't the sole purvey of religious idiots. the reasonable person will point out unique things about our world right now - the internet and international flight has changed the speed with with people and information gets around the world. it's changed the availability of information, etc. however, none of this changes the basic ebb and flow of history. it doesn't change the power dynamic between the haves and have nots. it doesn't mean that our science is suddenly 100% unlike those idiots hundreds of years ago who thought the sun revolved around the earth or that the earth is flat or that the speed of light is constant or that power flows from the positive to the negative or whatever else. you can only be so certain about these things if you think we're somehow living in the enlightened age, free of mistakes. but as i get older i find that we're making just as many mistakes in science and politics as we've made in the past. every couple months i'll read a story about a new discovery that finds that the triceratops never existed or drinking a lot of alcohol actually makes you live longer or red wine is good for your heart, but bad for breast cancer or the universe is expanding, not contracting like we thought before. a lot of people have this view that because blacks and women can vote we live in an equal society or something. meanwhile gays are second class citizens and immigrants are scapegoats. those are the popular ones, let's not even talk about the native americans; we'd rather just sweep that one under the rug so we can feel enlightened and evolved.
  • increasingly looking around and seeing the country is continuing to fall apart and i don't have much evidence that makes me think things are going to get any better any time soon. we need entirely new leadership and the ones who are coming into the fold are wack job tea party people. the hope and change thing lasted like two months and hasn't yielded much. we need gabriel over the white house and mr. smith in washington.

  • 9/13/10 (21:46)

  • just got back from maui. long journey back because of a three hour layover and losing the time going east. oh well. trip was quite good though. had never been to maui (went to oahu in 1993) so that was nice. of course the purpose of the trip was the hana relay, but we did a few other things while we were there. mama's fish house was a highlight. haleakala was another. went pretty much around the entire island (missed a few miles of the southeast portion) so i think we got to know the place pretty well. it's definitely different than oahu which is a lot busier and more touristy. maui is more chill.
  • the relay itself is broken down into 18 legs for a total of 52 miles. i did about 9 miles (probably a little more, but it's tough to tell because the measurements of each leg weren't incredibly accurate). meryl did about 10 miles. meryl's mom did about 9, her stepbrother about 8.5 and her stepdad about 13.5. we finished in 7 hours, 19 minutes and 20 seconds which is pretty good all things considered. you're allowed 6 runners and some teams seemed to use even more than that. we only used 5 and finished right in the middle. considering the average age and the fact that we were a coed group i think we did quite well. our original goal was to average a 9 minute mile (a bit over 7 hours 45 minutes) and everyone except for meryl's stepbrother did better than that. i don't think his training regime was very good (in part because he didn't have anyone to train with) and he also hurt himself on the last leg so that added to his time. truthfully, though, 8+ miles per person, even when broken up over the course of seven hours is a nice accomplishment. the first couple legs and the last few legs were flat, but the rest were rolling hills. most of the road is two lanes, but occasionally it's only one. there are a bunch of bridges and it goes in and out of rainforest and open landscape. we had a little bit of rain on the day of the race, as well as temps in the 80s and some high winds on some of the legs. when i ran my practice leg a few days before the race i got rained on most of the run and it was nice because it cooled me off, but it also made my shirt heavy so that was annoying. long story short, there are a lot of things to contend with for the race. thankfully on race day we didn't have to worry too much about the traffic because there are so many race vehicles that traffic is pretty slow. when we did our practice run, though, we had to watch out for cars and that got a little bit hairy. overall, a fun experience and we did well all things considered.
  • i plan on keeping up the running for a while longer to see what kind of times i can get in a 5k. it would be great to get back into really good shape, but i don't see myself running an 18 minute 5k anytime soon. 22 minutes seems like a good goal.
  • we stayed at a really nice place that was built almost entirely out of koa. it had a nice view of a little valley as well as the sunset. it was a bit remote which was both good and bad. i think when you're on maui, though, being remote fits more into the theme of the island so i liked it.
  • it was really nice of meryl's family to have me along and i'll never forget running along that road for such a long time. good experience.
  • back to work tomorrow. hope to get the floor tiled this week, not sure what work we'll be doing for other people in the coming weeks.

  • 9/6/10 (20:47)

  • had a good workout yesterday. repeats of a run that was probably a little less than 2 miles. did it three times with about 20 minutes in between. that was supposed to mimic the conditions of the relay where we'll have enough time cool down between legs. looks like i'll be running about 9 miles over three legs. more concerned about the heat than anything else. hopefully with some good rest my foot will be in good shape.
  • got a few jobs lined up to do for meryl's mom and stepdad, nice to have smaller jobs that can be finished in less than 4 months.

  • tiled some of the bathroom floor today. probably another day or two before the floor is done. after that we'll move onto the walls and bathtub area. still haven't settled on a tub enclosure. still haven't gotten our sink in either.
     

    8/30/10 (12:38)

  • taking the day off. woke up tired in part because the neighbor's dog was barking at 4am. the first year we were here the dog would bark when it saw something or someone, but at night it would shut up. then about six months ago the dog disappeared and we assumed it was dead. then it came back. ever since it's been barking and crying a lot more. i think it's because the grandson doesn't seem to live there any more and the dog probably came in at night and slept with him. quite annoying.
  • yesterday we worked at meryl's dad's again. ran coax and cat6 cable to two different bedrooms. it was definitely a challenge because the attic has (what looks to me like) pre-engineered trusses. they take up a lot of space and make it difficult to walk around. add to that the blown in insulation which obscures all the joists and you have a hot, difficult to navigate space. meryl fed me the cable (3 coax, 2 cat6 to each room) and i fed it through the trusses and down into the walls. we've done a fair amount of fishing at this point so we're not too bad at it. it's a good challenge, especially when you're feeding through an 8' wall with fireblocking in the middle. my 6' self-feeding bit comes in handy in those instances. wednesday we'll go back and finish up some electrical as well (we're running a switch to a closet light) as well as do some trim work (just shoe molding over the newly installed hardwood floors). we also have to figure out a way to bring several coax/cat6 lines from the attic to the first floor. that's going to be an interesting one.

  • 8/28/10 (18:54)

  • laid some tile and it looks ok. as usual i lost focus and messed up the line because i wasn't stopping to take a look at what i was doing until it was too late. some people never learn.
  • nice prank. the youtube verison doesn't have sound because of copyright issues which is retarded. anyway, sometimes kids can be so awesome. all the adults stuck in that traffic jam were probably pissed off because they had to get to work or whatever, and i'd probably be one of them. they're all too caught up in their own world to understand the quiet genius of the prank. the discipline it took to not stop, the idea had to be formed and sold to enough people to make it work, etc. funny stuff.

  • 8/28/10 (12:09)

  • started doing tile layout on the floor this morning. not thrilled with the lack of trueness on the floor, but there's nothing else that can be done about it now so i guess the floor is just going to be a bit rolly.
  • setup my new tile saw and figured out that i should have gotten the stand because my sawhorses aren't really keeping it straight and level. was readjusting the base and moved the saw to the ground for a bit. then picked the saw back up and the pump fell out and broke the threads off. now i need to get a new pump. $60 down the drain. hopefully dewalt will replace the part of the pump that is broken for free or cheap because i can't find the part online. doesn't help me now though and i need a tile saw in order to start tiling so now i need to go get a new pump to tide me over. awesome.
  • serenity now.
  • internet is still inconsistent, particularly when downloading other things. updating podcasts, watching hd video, downloading music, etc. all makes the browser stop. it doesn't just go slow, it just stops and thinks the website isn't there. happens with firefox, ie, chrome. not a browser issue. inclined to think that it's not at&t either at this point since we have a new drop and everything else. router is only thing left. not sure if i want to bother replacing it though because it will likely be a wasted day of trying to setup the wireless network again and getting the printer to work and everything else. hate computers.

  • 8/26/10 (22:32)

  • busy busy busy. ala cat's cradle.
  • ready to start laying down tile now. didn't do any work tonight, hope to get some stuff done this weekend. also gotta get another solid week of running in before the relay. foot has been bothering me, but hopefully i can power through a solid week and then taper off to rest it.

  • 8/25/10 (10:14)

  • pretty hot the last couple days. ran this morning and wasn't feeling too great, but i did 3.5 miles and it was hot so that's a good primer for the hana run.
  • dmv fucked me by not sending me any notice about expiration of driver's license. now i need to waste a couple hours there getting that done. next appt. online was about a month from now so i have no choice but to waste half a day hanging out there and going through all that.
  • started taking a couple classes at laney this semester. going to be a pain because it's 10 hours a week, split up over two nights. i'll learn even more about electricity and proper installations in residential applications. also taking a class on photovoltaics (solar panels) so i'll be able to install those by the end of the semester.
  • classes, running, work for alumni house, work for meryl's dad, work on the house; it's a busy month.

  • 8/21/10 (16:03)

  • at&t came by thursday after i got off work to look at our internet issues. there are at least two things causing slow/intermittant access: we're at the end of a long run (5800' and the max is about 6000') and our drop was poorly connected. so they decided to do a new drop. ran a new ground rod, attached a new box on the exterior of the house and ran new wire to the main line at the street. took them a few hours and it looks a lot better and is noticeably faster. we'll see how consistent it is. they did this free of charge (because the drop is their responsibility) and acted on it right away so i was pretty impressed. they're field guys are good, though i'm less enthusiastic about their phone support. so that was a nice little free upgrade to the north side of the house. eventually i plan on putting in a new network box on our end because the current hookup is a rat's nest of wires that isn't very organized and can't be giving us the best possible connection.
  • meryl and i worked on the bathroom some today. put down the kerdi membrane on the floor and then she left for work at the a's. then i did a bit of the shower, but i can't finish it all because i'm waiting for some thinset to dry that i applied earlier this morning in a low spot on the wall. it's the first time i've worked with kerdi. kerdi over durock is kind of overkill, but it's also considered best practice nowadays.
  • yesterday after work i installed the light and fan trim on the ceiling and also installed the primary light over the sink location.
  • in retrospect i wish i had tried to do a mud job on the floor. it wouldn't have come out as excellent as the one's don did when i worked for him, but i think it would have been better than messing with durock and self-leveller to get the right height and a true surface around the toilet. live and learn.

  • 8/21/10 (10:15)

  • ran this morning. plantar fasciitis is acting up. just got new orthotics though, so that may have happened just in time. will break them in over the course of the next week and see if they offer relief.
  • the daily show should move to philadelphia because it would be easier for the guests they have on their show. since about 25% of them appear on fresh air on npr first, it would make it much more convenient for the guest to go from their interview with terry gross to their interview with jon stewart if they were in the same city or even same building. the daily show should also try to save some money by firing the person in charge of getting bookings and just pay the person who does it for fresh air. is it that there are really that few interesting people to interview or do they just have amazingly similar tastes?

  • 8/20/10 (18:18)

  • re: the u.s. debt. seems to be getting out of control pretty quickly these days. originally i thought it was the result of a few things: wars in iraq/afghanistan, bush tax cuts, recession leading to decreased receipts from income taxes (fewer people have jobs, less money coming in for govt.), tarp, other stimulus. however, in the last week or so here's what i've found: iraq/afghanistan total cost to date about 1 trillion. tarp cost to date: 66 billion (because banks have paid most of it back. frontline documentary made it appear as though at least a few of the banks didn't even want to take the money, which is contrary to the usual narrative of them coming to govt with their hand out).
  • looking at this chart it looks like spending has increased dramatically while receipts for the govt. have plateaued or even declined slightly (depending upon how far back you go). if you compare 2005 to 2009 in 2005 dollars the govt. made only $200 billion less in 2009, but spent 800 billion more. i would like to know where the 800 billion went. some to the wars and $66 billion to tarp, but where's the rest? it would be nice to have a graphical representation of spending by department/program over the course of the last 5 years to see how priorities/spending habits have changed. wasn't able to find that sort of thing during my research.
  • the most strinking thing to me was how much of that gap was the result of spending and how little the receipts of the govt. changed over time. i think the problem is that so much of our budget is predicated upon the assumption that growth is a constant. so long as the receipts go up, you don't notice that the spending is also going up. but when the receipts stall, the spending becomes exagerrated.
  • bring back the fucking ccc. 3 million jobs to fix up the fundamentals of the country and gave people some damn pride. seems like a lot more bang for your buck with a program like that. not sure why we can't do something like that.

  • 8/18/10 (14:35)

  • didn't get anything done today. cleaned up a little around the house, but not much. went on a wild goose chase for good paint, but the stores around here don't have exactly what i'm looking for and certainly not at the price i'm willing to pay. sorry, $65/gallon just isn't going to work for me. so i think i'll go with the cheaper paint and live with it.
  • internet is still as spotty as ever.
  • hopefully getting my othotics today. my right foot has definitely been feeling the pain the last couple times i've done a hard workout.
  • bought tickets to the ucd/ucb game as well as the ucd/sac state game (in davis). also planned out two visits to usc games in la and probably one in palo alto. now i'm thinking about getting one game to see the niners before they leave candlestick. never been to a niners game and never been anywhere near candlestick so i figure i should go while both are still around. thinking seahawks on 12/12.

  • 8/15/10 (12:37)

  • ran a 10k today. good is that it was flat and the weather was really cool so it was ideal conditions. bad is that i ran it entirely by myself. time was 55:50 (meryl beat me by 25 seconds) which is a bit over a 9 minute mile. first mile was 9:45 because i treated it as a warm-up. in terms of how much i've been working out i think the time is fine. in terms of what i did in high school i think the time is awful. but i'm as fit as i've been for many years so i guess that's the good news. running again has definitely made me recall the workouts we had for track and cross-country. in retrospect those workouts were quite difficult. especially running for track where there were a lot of interval repeats at high speed. brutal and not at all close to what i'm doing to myself now. most of my workouts now are 3-4 miles at about 8:45/mile. i'm trying to work in some speed work, hill work, and interval training to maximize the reward for the time i put in. the more i hurt during the workout, the less i'll hurt during the relay. instead of running five times a week for a couple hours with great competition, i run a few times a week mostly by myself (meryl usually does a different workout) and am done in an hour.
  • worked on the texture in the bathroom yesterday. will finish that up today. also want to get some more trim up in there (got started on the window trim yesterday). had to make a new window sill from scratch poplar, that took a little while. had to rip a bevel in the face, then cut to length with bevels on the side. then i cut out a notch so it fits inside the jamb and overlaps the skirt by about 3/4". put in the jamb pieces as well. still need to do the quarter round and casing (which meryl is prepping for paint). trim can be good when it goes well because it really makes things look nice. i'm not great with angles, though, and i haven't done much of it so it can be a challenge.
  • got some inner thigh chafing going on and my calves are tight. feel fine other than that.

  • 8/13/10 (18:06)

  • profile on newt gingrich. he's even worse than i thought. he's a smart guy in a way, but sometimes he seems certifiably crazy. total jerk in real life. would love to see him up against obama and have obama rip him a new one. newt's smart, but i think he's angry and obama is as cool as the other side of the pillow so he could probably make newt look like a crazy old white guy.

  • 8/8/10 (9:24)

  • how about a customer service line for all things government related? i think customer service is something that's really lacking in the government sector. you can write to the mayor or your senator, but that generally doesn't get anything done. when you go to the dmv or local licensing office they don't treat you with any respect because they know they have your business no matter what. it's the law so you're obligated to go to them if you want to be in compliance. the govt. has a monopoly on so much and the employees (for the most part) don't seem to want to help so it's no wonder people have such bad experiences. if the dems or any other party that is pro-govt (including my green party) wants to advance their cause, they should focus first on the govt. doing what it already does, well, rather than expanding what it does. so, rather than creating other bureaucracies like financial regulators and healthcare systems and a new mms, they should make a concerted effort to increase the quality of the current government institutions from the local to federal levels. accountability, ease of use, quality customer service. if they improved in those three arenas there would be a lot fewer republicans out there.
  • worked on meryl's dad's new place yesterday. they have a big hearth in front of a gas fireplace and they wanted it taken out so they could put wood flooring there and have a tv where the fireplace is. yesterday we demoed all the brick and were able to salvage most of it. took the rest of it to the dump. also did some exploration on the fireplace and capped the gas line. next step is to remove the fireplace completely, cap the flue, reframe the enclosure, drywall and paint. originally i was thinking we could plaster over the fireplace trim pieces using plaster weld to help hold the mud in place, but then i thought about the expansion/contraction of the metal and decided that would probably not be a good idea so we're going to pull the entire fireplace. it's a nice little project. it's nice working on a house that's only 15 years old because there aren't dead rats and copious amounts of dust, there's not asbestos or lead to worry about, and things are done pretty well so there aren't absurd surprises.









  • 8/6/10 (17:13)
  • been working on the house after work lately and trying to make up for lost time. got the walls filled in with drywall and wonderboard. started taping the seams with thinset on the wonderboard. next step is to tape drywall and then paint the ceiling before any tile goes in. then trim, then paint the walls and then move on with the waterproofing membrane. i decided to go with the kerdi membrane because it's the industry standard. we'll see how that works out. hydroban seemed easier, but heard less about it and things that seem easy usually aren't.
  • funny to see the media coverage on the chelsea clinton wedding. what a complete waste of human resources. didn't actually watch any of it because i have more important things to do (like clip my toenails, pick my nose, organize my paint cans, count the blades of grass in the backyard, etc.), but saw a recap of some of it on daily show and it seemed to me that the major media outlets really need to take a look at what their purpose in life is. it's time to reevaluate your life if you're spending 12 hours camped out in front of the mansion relaying rumors to the public.

  • 8/2/10 (18;24)

  • two more pieces of wonderboard to hang in the bathroom before the walls are all covered. that's good news.
  • i don't read mad magazine these days, but i probably should. used to love the old mad paperbacks. especially liked the al jaffee stuff which is priceless. his stuff centers on the stupidity of humanity and society. so, he had a series of books like "snappy answers to stupid questions" and one on non-existent inventions that were total failures. to the best of my knowledge he still writes for mad magazine and still designs the folding back cover which was always my favorite part. great comic mind.

  • 8/1/10 (9:26)

  • craft fair went about as expected. sold a few things, but not a heck of a lot. i don't think it has a heck of a lot to do with the quality, rather, i think it's more about the taste and expectations of the shoppers. people who make the inventor of the pet rock aren't likely to fully appreciate hand-crafted goods. i'd say about half the stuff at the craft fair wasn't actually hand-made, rather it was designed by an artist and then duplicated by a machine. so, there were lots of t-shirts and poster prints. meryl got some good leads, though, so that's promising. she's got another day to do today. i'm staying home to work on the house.

  • 7/30/10 (17:55)

  • tomorrow is the craft fair. tonight we'll be doing some last minute stuff to get everything ready. tomorrow will be long. after this weekend we can get back to work on the house. august is going to be busy. lots of running and house work.

  • 7/29/10 (19:52)

  • good daft punk video.

  • 7/28/10 (17:04)

  • tired today
  • counterpoint.
  • haven't gotten much done on the house lately.
  • internet still seems to have problems.
  • heard a story on npr today about a woman who, after the bp oil spill, decided she wanted to avoid oil and oil-based products. of course she quickly found out how difficult that is and felt guilty about the amount of oil she was using. this is the kind of stuff educated, mostly liberal, people like me have to deal with. we feel like shit because we spend too much time in the sun and feel like we're going to get skin cancer. then we read a study that says most people in the country don't get enough vitamin d because they're not in the sun enough. we try to avoid oil-related products like plastic forks, but then we get forks made out of corn and feel like crap because corn is over-subsidized as is. you can't eat beef so you eat chicken. then someone says chicken is bad so you eat more fish. then they tell you that fish has too much mercury in it. then they say that the seas are being overfished. then they say fish is okay, but only small fish like mackerel and sardines. this crap is ridiculous.

  • 7/27/10 (16:52)

  • it seems like there are still a lot of stories about the lebron issue and most of them focus on two things: he's a turncoat for leaving his team or the production made about the whole thing was ridiculous. second one first: if you're like most sports fans, which you are if you're writing about it, then you tuned in. if you're part of the sports media then chances are you contributed to the hype as much as anyone else. so suck it.
  • as to the first point: 1) it was a business decision. 2) i have no problem with him taking less money to try to build a dynasty elsewhere. he gave cleveland 7 years and they never put anyone good around him. it was easy for kobe to stay in la when he had shaq and odom and pau and artest and all the other talent they surrounded him with. why did people not get upset when kevin garnett left minnesota for boston? because he didn't grow up there? because he wasn't the best player in the game at the time? not sure what all the fuss is over.
  • i'm pretty consistent when it comes to empowering the working class or at least the talent. in the case of sports the working class/talent portion of the equation isn't the ncaa or david stern or the media or the owners of any of the teams; it's the players who put their asses on the line on a daily basis. a lot of times the media will write these guys off as rich whining babies, which to some extent they are, but the owners are, in most cases, quite a bit richer and it's a situation where the money is there and it's just a matter of where you want it to go. you can argue that there should be less money in sports, but the fact is that there's a certain amount floating around, it's just a matter of where you want it to go. if you're with much of the media then you think the talent shouldn't get such high contracts which means you think it should be divided between the other entities (ownership, advertisers, and the leagues). in other words, you favor the bourgeoisie. since everyone in the equation is ridiculously rich it's easy to forget that the talent is still lowest on the totem pole and they're also the ones generating the revenue. if you want to argue that the refs should get more or that the guys selling the beer should get more then lets have that argument, but don't argue in favor of some billionaire owner who has to pay a couple million more to the talent because you just look like an asshole.
  • another college football player apparently took money from some boosters. this time in florida. big surprise. once again the ncaa is on its little witch hunt making sure it keeps the talent hoping they'll get a big payday in the nfl draft while keeping them down in the meantime. i hate florida as much as any other school in the country, but i have no problem with this kid getting his due compensation in spite of the ncaa's b.s. regulations.

  • 7/26/10 (22:43)

  • cousin sean came over this weekend. he stayed with us saturday, sunday and today. it was good to spend some time with him. he's socially awkward, but a great kid and he's up for anything. we had him do some assembly work for meryl's art projects and he helped me change the oil and replace the broken window on the garage (i broke it playing basketball) and we saw a basketball game and played some games. it was a good time.
  • boss is on vacation the next two weeks so i don't get my usual day off next week.
  • ted koppel is another one of those old-timers who will be missed when he's gone. today he was on npr talking about the state of the media today, especially after they jumped on the sherrod case and provided no context or fact-checking or anything else. at the end, the host (tony cox) asked koppel if we had any reason to be optimistic that the media would get better in the future, koppel replied simply: "no." ouch. but true.

  • 7/24/10 (10:59)

  • god i hope that warren is appointed the head of the consumer protection agency (or whatever they plan on calling it). if obama does that it'll be his biggest achievement to date in my mind.

  • 7/23/10 (17:46)

  • wrist has been hurting lately.
  • cousin is coming to stay with us tomorrow.
  • daniel schorr died today. not sure if i mentioned it several months back when i intended, but he's one of the true greats. i try to get ahead of these stories when there are old people, i try to mention that i like them before they're gone because i think it's trite to write about how great a person is after they die. it just seems like people should say nice things about a person before they die. while working at tower it annoyed me that everyone would be a warren zevon fan on the day he died, for example, but we wouldn't sell any of his records otherwise. anyway, whenever i'd hear schorr on npr i would do my best to pay attention. he was one of those old timers who had a great perspective on things because he lived so much and was privy to so many things. i respected his opinion and that's increasingly rare. he wasn't a partisan b.s. artist. he was about the facts has he saw them and had a great ability to put things in historic context. he also appeared in the david fincher movie 'the game' which was the first time i remember seeing his face, though i had known his voice before. a lot of times when these old-timers pass on they've sort of passed on in our minds already because they don't appear in films anymore or are out of politics, but in schorr's case he was still contributing. apparently his last commentary for npr was less than two weeks ago. he'll be missed.
  • jim lehrer is still around so that's good.
  • want to see inception again. i'm not a big repeat film-goer, but nolan's last two films have both had me wanting to see them a second time in the theater. only film i've seen twice in the theater in recent years (that i can remember) is hangover, but that was more out of opportunity than anything else.
  • at&t tech came by yesterday and did a line test. said that the stress test showed our line was pretty maxed out. they're going to do some maintenance on the line from here to the nearest booster (i assume that's what they're doing) and then we'll see how things are. i also think we need to clean up the rat's nest of phone wires under the house, but that's a project for later.
  • broke a window on the garage yesterday. knew it was going to happen sooner or later. need to move the doors all the way to one side when i play basketball and put up a piece of wood so that stray balls don't hit the windows. called around and they said it would be about $110 to come out and fix it. guess i'll have to do it myself. it's only like $15 worth of material (glass and glazing), but i'm not great at smoothing the glazing so i didn't want to have to do it. guess it's good practice.
  • oakland has a technology called shotspotter which does exactly what it says: spots the location (within 25m) of gunshots that are fired throughout the city. then they can dispatch patrol cars to the location and (presumably) catch the perps. they can also take this data and find which areas have high levels of gun fire and then patrol those locations more frequently. a bunch of cities throughout the country have this technology.
  • a couple weeks ago, before i heard about the shotspotter thing, i was thinking that patrol cars should have gps that tracks their movements and relays that back to the main computer and aggregates all the data from all the patrol cars and finds which areas are underpatrolled. they could cross-reference this with crime reports and the shotspotter info or they could ignore that data and just find which areas don't get patrolled often and suggest officers patrol that area the next time they're out. the assumption is that officers are human and will likely patrol the same areas over and over. criminals will detect the pattern and adjust. the program detects the patterns and suggests new patrol routes/locations to improve visibility. seems easy to implement - install gps on cars that don't already have one, write the program which could sync automatically while in the garage/parking lot on a fairly basic (secure/encrypted) wireless network, and train the cops on what the program is doing. remind them that it's not telling them where to go, merely offering suggestions. seems like the kind of thing some grad students could do in a matter of months. it could even be as simple as an iphone app (which has gps built in). the app could perform the same tasks for all officers who have iphones. that version would be less detailed, but it would still work.
  • smart alec's in berkeley is a nice lunch place, but they recently changed their to go ketchup packets from heinz to some georgia fancy catsup crap and it totally blows. not all ketchup is created equal. first of all, if they spell it catsup, it's crap. that's basically a rule. secondly, why try to save $10 a week in ketchup when what you have is working just fine and the other tastes like the piss of a sunburned irishman? doesn't make any sense.
  • ran a couple miles the other day. ran at an 8 minute mile pace so it's nice knowing i can still do that, even if only for a mile and a half. wanted a short, fast run because meryl was waiting for me. as i get older and am trying to run a bit again it occurs to me how fit i once was. i took a 6 minute mile for granted. an 8 minute mile was easily maintained for 5 miles. now, though, it's a different story. of course i'm only running a few days a week and i'm not running with the same intensity with weekly races and a coach and competition during the week. one summer we went up to mammoth mountain (elevation about 7k ft.) and had a running camp with coach. we ran twice a day at least 4-5 miles per run. there were days when we did 15-16 miles. all we did was run and hang out. it was a good team building thing and running at that elevation, twice a day, got me in shape real quick. there's no way i could do that these days. this is aging. i hope i start to get smarter because i ain't getting stronger anytime soon.
  • backerboard and drywall continue to go up in the bathroom. less than half way done with that. maybe i'll put my cousin to work this weekend. we'll see what he can do.
  • rated over 10,600 songs now. 24,000 to go.

  • 7/21/10 (17:53)

  • our internet is really sucking lately.
  • don't agree 100% with this, but makes some interesting points.
  • the shirley sherrod situation is pretty fucked up. she did something she shouldn't have done (acted in a racist manner by denying her best effort because of a person's race), then she learns from it and makes it right, then she recounts this story so others wouldn't make the same mistake, then she gets fired. if i were her i'd consider a wrongful termination suit. fucking conservatives pounded on this and got results. it's not the first time they've done this either. there was the green jobs guy who got ousted as well. our country is so fucked right now. conservatives need to take back conservatism because right now it's being taken over by crazy racists and neo-cons. conservatism used to be more about fiscal responsibility and shrinking role of the government. don't really agree with that, but at least i could respect that on some level. about the time reagan came around i think it all went to shit.
  • put up some more wonderboard today. mostly been working on meryl's projects the last week or so. helping her with much of the carpentry-related stuff for the renegade craft fair.
  • stupid fucking google changes the link to the imdb results. so you search for a movie and the imdb link comes up, you right click on the link and click "copy link address" or whatever it is (depending upon your browser), then you go to paste that and it comes up with some long ass google-based link instead of the imdb.com one. wtf? imdb.com is sucking ass lately too with their obtrusive ads.

  • 7/18/10 (22:41)

  • went for a run today. decent pace, not super long. need to start increasing the mileage so i'm ready for that.
  • watched inception last night. highly recommended. updated recommendations.
  • yesterday i laid down the cement backer board on the floor of the bathroom. that was nice to get done. i laid it down with thinset and followed up with screws on the perimeter of the boards and nailed the field with roofing nails. roofing nailer is a godsend. i love having the right tools.
  • the other day i also got around to setting up the basketball hoop. rather than buying their frame and figuring out how to install that on the garage, i opted to design and build my own mounting hardware. took a while, but i got it to work and it's pretty solid. happy with the feel of it and glad that i have a hoop now. it's nice to shoot some hoops after work or after working on the house.
  • half a day more of painting at the alumni house tomorrow. blah.
  • our snap peas are coming in well now. had a stir fry with them the other day and they were pretty good, but i prefer eating the peas out of the pod. from vine to mouth in less than 10 seconds. it doesn't get better than that.
  • i tend to think that the best is behind us when it comes to films. for example, i have a movie from every decade since the 30s on my top 25 of all-time, except the first decade of the new millenium. this isn't by design, i just haven't fallen in love with a film from the last ten years like i have with films from the previous 70. i'll have to revisit my top 25 in a while. haven't done that recently and it could probably be reworked. need to revisit a couple films that are just in or just out to see where things should be.

  • 7/14/10 (10:10)

  • updated pictures.
  • there was a psychiatrist on fresh air yesterday and he basically confirmed a lot of what i thought already. namely that the profession is a brain drain that increasingly leans on meds to treat their patients. a lot of what he described sounded like it could easily be replaced by a fairly simple computer program. he asks the patient a series of questions, consults the pdr and then prescribes medicine. incentives are such that it makes much more sense to see many patients in a day. you get paid quite a bit more for a 15 minute consult than a 1 hour therapy session. he described not wanting to ask too many questions because then he would spend too much time with the patient and not be able to see the next one. this sounds similar to my experience with regular doctors who are all business and don't spend more than 5-10 minutes with you on any given visit. pretty pathetic stuff.

  • 7/8/10 (23:01)

  • the mehserle verdict came in as expected. without going too much into it i think it's more likely that mehserle was incompetent than it is that he was evil and stupid and/or hubristic enough to think he wouldn't get in trouble for obvious murder. i see incompetence daily and i don't see pure evil all that much. i also think it's basically impossible to judge someone's intentions. without knowing more i couldn't say what i think the verdict should have been.
  • what's probably more disturbing is the media's coverage of this any basically every other event. the media presents it as a black vs. white issue and hypes it up because sensationalism is what they do best. during the l.a. riots reginald denny, a white truck driver, was famously taken out of his truck and beaten to a pulp by four  moron gang members, who were black. this was a great counterpoint for the media because it represented black vengeance for the rodney king beating. what they never showed, though, is the aftermath. four different people (all black) came to denny's rescue and drove him to the hospital. most people who watched the riots know about denny, but i'm willing to bet that 90% of them don't know what happened to him afterwards.
  • another element of that incident that pretty well summarizes our society is the copyright litigation that followed. the pilot and reporter who filmed the incident ended up suing tv stations for using the footage without their permission. it reminds me of the scalia quote (probably the only time i've agreed with him) "I mean thereíd be a, you know, a defense or public defender from Podunk, you know, and this woman is really brilliant, you know. Why isnít she out inventing the automobile or, you know, doing something productive for this society?
  • I mean lawyers, after all, donít produce anything. They enable other people to produce and to go on with their lives efficiently and in an atmosphere of freedom. Thatís important, but it doesnít put food on the table and there have to be other people who are doing that. And I worry that we are devoting too many of our very best minds to this enterprise.
  • And they appear here in the Court, I mean, even the ones who will only argue here once and will never come again. Iím usually impressed with how good they are. Sometimes you get one who's not so good. But, no, by and large I donít have any complaint about the quality of counsel, except maybe we're wasting some of our best minds."
  • to the best of my knowledge we have more lawyers per capita than any other country in the world. we also have the highest prison population in the world so maybe it makes sense.
  • i didn't think there would be riots in oakland after the verdict. so far it's been mainly peaceful based upon what i've found on youtube and seen on the local news. a few idiot opportunists have looted foot locker and broke the windows to a downtown subway eatery, but that's basically it. for all this stuff i have to refer to the quotes by hitler and einstein above. for me it explains quite a bit about the state of the world.
  • re: lebron. i thought he was going to stay with the cavs, but he's going into a situation more likely to get him some championships. miami should own the east for the next 7 years or so and they could definitely get 3 rings or more in that time. in my opinion lebron and wade are the two best players in the world, with kobe being #3. it's huge news. it's tough for cleveland and i feel bad for them, but i understand lebron doing what he did. cleveland wasn't bringing in better talent. cleveland could have paid him more. i don't think it was a selfish decision, i think it was a decision that was based upon his desire to win championships. in other words, i take him for his word.
  • more painting at alumni house coming up. three more days at least for various areas. hopefully that'll be all for a while.

  • 7/7/10 (10:13)

  • the oscar grant/mehserle trial is supposed to have a verdict soon, but who knows how long it could drag out. the video makes it clear that mehserle killed him and should do some time. the question, as i see it, is if he wanted to kill him or just use his taser. logic dictates the following to me: 1) killing someone in public with multiple witnesses is a ridiculously stupid thing to do. if you want to kill the guy you take him in a back alley and shoot him and say he was trying to escape or something. 2) a gun feels different than a taser, a trained professional and/or monkey should be able to tell the difference between the two. proving intent seems extraordinarily difficult to me. does mehserle have a history of violence, excessive force, anger problems? is he a known racist? i know very little about the case so i couldn't say how i think it should come down, but if he isn't found guilty there are going to be a lot of angry people in oakland.
  • 31 now. feels kinda old. luckily it happens gradually so you get accustomed to the signs of aging. i'm less concerned about getting old and more concerned by the fact that i have fewer friends now than i did 10 years ago.
  • next two days off.
  • did some painting at alumni house last week. have three more days left of that. painting is a chore to me, but it's not so bad once i get started.
  • going to take some electrical classes in fall. kaizen.
  • 3 tickets in the last week. i guess it all evens out because i hadn't many for the last 2-3 months. in the long term the house always wins.
  • metallica's "...and justice for all" is an album in great need of a remastering. the production is notoriously bad. hopefully one day they can punch it up to sound like it should.

  • 7/3/10 (20:08)

  • got rid of a truckload of dirt. one more truckload to go.
  • also did some rough pluming. shower/tub valve/supply is done, just need to hook it up to the main trunk and then branch off to supply the toilet and the rough plumbing will be complete.
  • watched both the soccer matches today. germany is the best looking team i've seen so far, but i haven't seen much of the dutch or uruguay.

  • 7/2/10 (18:00)

  • birthday sunday. meryl is making us not do any work so we'll be watching movies most of the day.

  • 6/28/10 (21:32)

  • idea for obama's reelection campaign: montage of obama speaking about important legislation and actions taken thus far - healthcare, bp $20 billion in account, etc. then john lennon's song "give peace a chance" starts playing with people in a large crowd singing along and instead of singing "give peace a chance" they sing "give change a chance." people would eat that ironic shit up.
  • got a note from "a neighbor" the other day. basically said we should paint our house and mow the lawn more often. i think the stuff we've done to date has been (mostly) a higher priority than making the front of our house look nice, but it's a matter of perspective. so i mowed the lawn and did some weed wacking this weekend. exterior paint will wait til next year.
  • stucco patching was finished sunday by noon so that was good.
  • cousins and aunt ended up visiting yesterday as well. we watched a movie and walked around jack london square a bit.

  • 6/26/10 (17:57)

  • usa soccer played pretty well today in the loss to ghana, but not well enough. again it was an early goal that doomed them.
  • rafael started working on the stucco today. got a later than expected start because he didn't bring any materials so we had to go shopping. hopefully he can finish tomorrow. he's taking his time on this one and he left about an hour ago, not sure if he's coming back.
  • cousins and aunt should be coming here tomorrow, but not certain about that.

  • 6/25/10 (17:05)

  • interesting story.
  • i don't know what my favorite album is, but i know that incunabula by autechre has been near or at the top of the list for the last 8-10 years.
  • once i get all my songs rated i'll be able to make some pretty kick ass mixes. i'm guessing it'll be another year before i have all that sorted out though.
  • one of the saddest days of the year passed the other day. summer solstice means it's all downhill from here. less daylight everyday. depressing. then it'll be fall and it'll be dark at noon (or whatever) again.
  • rained last night a little bit. fuck that shit.
  • michael chabon was on fresh air today, actually it was a replay, but they talked about writing and his life. chabon said he knows he's writing something good when he gets uncomfortable, she asked for an example. he gave the example of when he wrote about when he was 15 and he had sex with one of his mom's friends. at first this seemed odd to me of course. then i think the reaction can go one of two ways: awesome, that kid was a pimp. or, wow, that sucks to be raped at that age by your mom's friend. they didn't talk about either possible reaction, just about him writing about it and then about his mom finding out (after she read the book) and them talking about it matter-of-factly. pretty messed up that if the genders were reversed it would be a victimized girl and a man in jail and labeled a pedophile/sex offender for the rest of his life. but it's a young boy and an older woman so we can laugh about it on the radio. awesome. when it's an older woman we're able to think about it as a shade of gray - he probably wanted it and she was showing him the ropes (ala meet the fockers) so it's not as bad as it seems. again, reverse the genders, though, and we assume it's totally different.

  • 6/24/10 (14:02)

  • went to play basketball with jon the other day. picked him up at the bart station and we drove to the place nearest my house that i know of to play basketball. we played a bit and then a guy with no shirt and jeans around his thighs came up and asked if he could play with us. i said yes and we spent much of the next hour trying to play ball with him. we was definitely out of it and we quickly surmised that he was likely a crackhead. once it was obvious that he was just looking for some companionship rather than to rob us, or otherwise give us a hard time, i tried to teach him some things about basketball. his movements were extremely deliberate to the point where it would take him a full minute just to take a shot. it was one of those oakland experiences that show you the full range of humanity's potential. if we had caught this guy on a bad day he would have been robbing us to get high, but we got him on a day when he didn't need a fix. he was totally out of it, but you could see glimmers of happiness when he started to understand what we were teaching him. for people like this, bp and afghanistan and office politics are so completely irrelevant. it's something we all know, but interactions like this remind you.
  • speaking of basketball...meryl got me a backboard/rim for my birthday. hope to install that in the next couple weeks. going to wait for stucco (saturday rafael is coming over) on garage to be done. then will prime and paint the front of the garage and mount backboard.
  • took off a chunk of skin the other day with a belt sander and 36 grit paper. in general we've been pretty good about injuries while working on the house. hammered my fingers a few times and stepped on a couple nails, but nothing more serious than that.
  • never wrote about the celtics/fakers game. it was one for the books and it didn't go my way (again). fucking hate those guys. the only good thing about it is that my former favorite player (artest) is the one who bailed out the kobes. the celtics played a fine game and a great series, but misses shots haunted them. the rebounding in game seven was also awful, though some of that is because perkins wasn't in the game.

  • 6-23-10 (16:19)

  • it occurred to me last night that i don't have an official favorite jazz album. then it occurred to me that sonny sharrock's first record (black woman) is probably my favorite though i had never thought of it in those terms. with rock, hip-hop, and electronic i have a list of a few albums off the top of my head that would be in the running, but i hadn't ever thought about it for jazz.

  • 6-23-10 (10:47)

  • fucking brilliant game this morning. usa put on the pressure all game long and it finally paid off in extra time. we haven't lost a game yet so we're looking pretty good. fucking refs have it in for us, but they can suck it. so exciting. it's like waiting to jizz for 90 minutes and then it finally happens with the prom queen. what a game.
  • brazil and argentina are looking real good. we'll see how good brazil is when they play portugal.

  • 6-20-10 (14:18)

  • ran a 5k today. by the old chris standards i ran an awful time, but by the standards that i've only been running again for a week or so it wasn't too awful. started running months ago to prep for the race then i got sick then it looked like the race wasn't going to happen so i stopped running and then i started back up again in the last week or so. at the end i felt like i had more left in the tank too so that's a sign that i should have run a bit faster. running isn't fun, but racing is.
  • worked a bit on the bathroom this weekend. reversed the swing on the door and that's mostly dialed in now. also worked on repairing the ceiling. still waiting on the shower diverter so we can do the rough-in plumbing and then bring the tub back in.

  • 6-16-10 (10:05)

  • did some page updating. updated recommendations and movies reviewed pages.
  • hope to get a lot of little things done around the house today. was hoping that the stucco guy could come today, but i don't think he's coming until monday. our conversations are always pretty tough since he speaks only slightly more english than i speak spanish.

  • 6-13-10 (17:43)

  • watched a frontline documentary on the war in iraq, specifically one platoon based in colorado that had a high suicide rate and a couple of the guys went onto to prison for the murder of a fellow soldier. it was yet another quality documentary that brings home the realities of war and what we're asking these guys to do. i think it's far too easy to forget about these realities and sacrifices and the long-term consequences that war has on the soldiers. we make the easily seen costs of war too easy to miss. it's like shopping at wal-mart: we see the low prices, but none of the downside that those low prices have on the workers in the supply chain or wal-mart locations. perhaps we should bring back the draft for this reason, but a real draft where guys like cheney can't get around it just because they're in school. if you're a man or woman and you can walk and between the ages of 18-45, you're eligible.
  • i know a lot of people who voted for obama and i don't think i know anyone who has a family member who has gone to war in iraq or afghanistan. how about instead of a draft we make people who vote for bush and obama go into the wars that they start or perpetuate? seems fair to me. it's easy to take the soldiers for granted or to write them off as ignorant, poor, or hawkish, but in seeing a host of documentaries on these most recent wars i don't find that to be the rule. mostly it seems like they're (mostly) guys who don't have a lot of options and want to make a difference. we've betrayed their trust for the last ten years with wars of choice rather than wars of survival and self-defense, which is the only time i would feel comfortable sending someone off to possible death or murder of another.
  • dad was over this weekend for a bit. watched a movie and spent time with sarah. showed him the place, he hadn't seen it in months.
  • celtics pretty much have to win tonight. technically it's not a must-win situation until the other team has three wins, but i feel like this is a must-win because winning two on the road would be damn difficult for boston.
  • didn't get much done on the house this weekend. started the rough-in for the electrical.
  • my true calling in life may have been to be a bug killer. in the last couple weeks i've dispatched flying bugs in the following ways:
  • mosquito hawk flying around at home. meryl scared, i'm reading a book. flies in front of me and i wack it out of the air. it's stunned and bouncing around on the ground a few feet away from me. i close book and throw it into the air an onto the ground where it squishes mosquito hawk. it's dead. i've done this before with another flying bug, but that time i used a tissue box instead of a book - not as loud, just as effective.
  • my favorite method is the catch and clap. i'll often catch moths and gnats out of the air with my hand and hold it inside my fist. then i'll clap that hand with my other hand and kill it. highly effective and it keeps me sharp.
  • bug in office flying around everyone's head and being a general nuisance. i hit it in midair and stunned it. it bounced around on my desk for a couple seconds and landed on my stapler. i slammed the stapler down and killed it by impaling it with a staple. probably the greatest achievement of my life. stapler has been around 100 years and probably only one person a year has killed a bug in that manner so my guess is that in the history of humanity killing a fly with a stapler has been done about 100 times.
  • not thrilled about the prospect of the pac-16. it'll instantly make it the number one conference in the country in football and several other sports. i like rooting for the pac-10, but i wouldn't be able to do that if it included texas and oklahoma. i'd become a pac-8 fan at that point, which in the most likely scenario would be known as the pac-16 west. once again it's all about the money and there's a lot on the line so every day it looks like more and more of a possibility, but i can't say i like it.
  • nba finals have been very poorly officiated. this last game wasn't as bad as the previous four, but it wasn't great either. worst officiating i've seen since stern fixed the kings/lakers series in 2002.
  • boston played well tonight. shut down gasol which was a big key to the game. the announcers didn't really pick up on it, but they didn't give him anything easy. a couple times they poked the ball away from him, they blocked a few of his shots, they fouled him and made him earn his points. it was the kobe show and that was it. ray allen needs to get back on track with his long jumpers so they can spread the defense, but other than that i don't have much to complain about.
  • now they have to close it on the road. should be interesting.
  • yesterday was johnny's birthday. today was my late grandpa's birthday.

  • 6-12-10 (10:13)

  • ran this morning. getting back into the swing of things.
  • dad's in town this weekend so probably not going to get much done on the house. we do plan on going around town to hopefully find the shower hardware so i can do the rough-ins.

  • 6-7-10 (17:26)

  • work on the bathroom is moving, but not especially fast or slow. finished the subfloor, tile prep is next for the floor. will probably use a self-levelling product to take some of the slope out of the room as well as fill in some of the small valleys. not settled on ditra vs. backboard. thinking ditra at this point, but it's a bit more expensive and i've never used it before so there's the unknown. definitely using schluter kerdi on the shower walls, but unsure of the thinset type because we're using glass tile. ask schluter and they say unmodified, ask thinset manufacturer and they say modified. read about it and glass usually goes on with modified. we'll see how that pans out.
  • waiting on shower diverter before plumbing the rest of the bathroom supply lines.
  • wrist hurts.
  • a.f.5 is a great program for people who like organization in windows explorer because it has a powerful, yet simple, interface that allows you to change the name of a large number of files at once. i use it all the time when working with mp3s that aren't named in a format that i like. i like: artist - album - track number - song title - year of release.mp3
  • celtics game was a good one. kg and pierce were zeros, but allen carried them in the first half and then rondo came on in the second half. they have a great team concept, a defensive emphasis, and a lot of the right guys which makes them a force in the playoffs. the fakers have more talent and supposedly a better coach, but it's definitely a winnable series for the celtics, i just think they have less room for error. tomorrow should be fun.
  • my dad has seen over 200 movies in the theater so far this year.
  • sad to see john wooden gone. it goes without saying that he was one of the greats in basketball history, but he was an even greater mentor for the many young men whom he coached. unlike a lot of people in the industry now, he realized that life is more important than basketball and for that reason alone he's irreplaceable. his pyramid for success and ideas about competitive greatness and teamwork are blueprints for success in a variety of arenas (sports or otherwise). from a sports philosophy point of view he could very well be likened to plato who is considered the father of western philosophy to the point that it has been said "(western philosophy) consists of a series of footnotes to Plato." everything that coaches are teaching today is just a footnote to what wooden said 50 years ago.
  • reviewed 8,610 out of 34,487 songs so far. itunes uses a 5 star system whereas media monkey allows half star ratings and a bomb rating for a total of 11 categories. once again, itunes is limited. itunes won't recognize ratings left in media monkey so i have to rate everything with a whole number from 1-5. 1 star means it comes off the ipod. 2 stars means it's fine. 3 means i like it more than average. 4 means i really like it. 5 means i love it. i've been doing this for about 5 months and i'm 25% of the way there. it's also the easy 25% because i took some of the low hanging fruit (like much of the beatles catalog) and rated it without having to listen to it. most of the rest of the stuff i'll have to listen to before i rate it. i do about 100 songs a day when i'm at work. i figure i'll be done right about the time the ipod breaks or apple comes out with an ipod that fits 200gb. on the weekends i listen to my podcasts instead of rating songs. here's the breakdown so far:

  •  
    stars # of songs % of total
    1 481 5.5
    2 4979 57.8
    3 2098 24.3
    4 691 7.7
    5 361 4.1
    8610 24.9

    6-3-10 (21:47)

  • oil spill seems like it might be coming to an end, at least they've tried something and had it work so i guess that's a good sign. my idea was to further crimp the damaged pipe to restrict flow, then pump liquid hydrogen in there to freeze the oil which might allow enough time to fix the leak. that was the best idea i could come up with.

  • 6-2-10 (22:43)

  • on our trip we saw three dwellings that were radically different. the first was the forestiere underground gardens, but it's really more of a home than a garden. he did sleep there, after all. the other two were also quite large by average dwelling standards. the two mansions were awesome to look at, but i had a lot of respect for the one guy with a good idea and a lot of patience who dug out a home for himself. as much as i respect the intellect and skill and vision of hearst and julia morgan and even mrs. winchester, i'd much rather be friends with a guy like forestiere.
  • had an ear doctor appt. today. they didn't come up with anything to solve my ear cracking issue so i guess i have to live with it. more annoying than anything else, but it'll be fine. found out i have hearing loss at the 4-6khz range in my left ear. that's not unexpected and may have been the case for the last 15 years or so because i think i remember having a hearing test before that found something similar. i generally do a good job of wearing ear protection when using my power tools so i just gotta keep that up.
  • made a replacement drawer for our office dresser. we got it for free and it never had a functional drawer on the lower right hand side. so i took the face of the drawer and fashioned a new box so that it would be functional. took me about an hour and it's the kind of project that is easy when you know what you're doing and you have tools like a table saw and pneumatic staple gun. if i didn't have those tools it would have taken a lot longer and wouldn't have turned out as well. it's done now so i increased the available storage by about 15% and it looks better now that all the spaces are filled.

  • also got to work on the bathroom floor so we don't fall between the joists when we're working in there.

    5-31-10 (23:13)

  • worked on the bathroom today. didn't really feel like it at first, but got rolling later in the day. replaced the rotten wood on the exterior wall - bottom plate and some of the studs. also framed for the new window and installed that. we've gotten pretty good at installing new construction windows. next step is learning how to install retrofit windows which is a different process. next step for the bathroom is doing the floor and the shower water supply.
  • wrote a letter to doc rivers. more of a scouting report than a letter, actually and it wasn't really addressed to him since i compiled it during the last series. i addressed it to him and wrote "urgent, scouting report" on the back.
  • to whom it may concern:

  • i'm a long time laker hater and after watching opponents constantly play the lakers incorrectly i decided to compile a simple and short list of notes about playing the lakers under phil jackson's reign of terror. i hope you will take them and implement them to your success to defeat our common enemy.

    KOBE
    -don't foul him, if you do foul him, make him feel it
    -stay on your feet
    -don't try to get under his skin with smart talk, it's just fuel for him
    -at some point in the series he'll have an unstoppable quarter. double-team him and get the ball out of his hands in these instances.
    -other than his hot streaks, play him straight up. best defense is ball denial. also make him work on defensive end. he doesn't get tired, but you have to make him work throughout the game and series. it may help by the end of the series.

    PAU
    -box out at all times
    -double team in first quarter. best chance is to stop him early so he doesn't get hot.

    FISHER
    -a real weakness on defense. just ask aaron brooks and russell westbrook
    -use his weakness to open up your three point shooters and create opportunities from help defense
    -stay on him in the last four minutes of a close game. don't let help come from fisher at this point, he will burn you. trust me.

    ODOM
    -biggest waste of talent in modern sports
    -let him float along. pay no attention to him. don't rile him. just sweet talk with him about his awesome life or growing up in queens or something harmless and not basketball related. he's easily distracted and actually would rather not play basketball. let him not play basketball and disappear into the background.
    -if he does happen to wake up then good luck defending him. he's a defensive nightmare.

    ARTEST
    -formerly one of my favorite players
    -if he gets hot then you don't stand much of a chance in a seven game series because the lakers are too good.
    -guard him against the drive. let him take jumpers all day long.
    -he's someone you can manipulate with words and get under his skin. he will implode.
    -pray that jackson doesn't let him goto work in the post.

    BYNUM
    -mostly a joke. gets opportunity points. play him straight up and play typical fundamental defense and he won't hurt you much.

    BENCH:
    -most of these guys are the same guys who were there for the championship run so don't buy the hype about them being thin.
    -walton is a great passer, but get in his face and he will make bad decisions or turn the ball over.
    -farmar is an adequate fill in for fisher. you want him shooting more than passing.
    -vujacic can get going quick. another guy you don't want to play mind games with because he can thrive on this. only need to play tight on him in the event that he starts sinking some shots. then close in on him quickly to get him out of his rhythm.

    good luck, i'm rooting for you
    chris miller

    5-31-10 (09:47)

  • left for fresno on thursday night. saw my grandma, visited for a bit and then went to sleep.
  • next day my aunt and cousins came over and we spent some time with all of them. went to the dog park and played with their dogs, talked a bit and that was about it.
  • then we hurried over to the forestiere underground gardens. forestiere spent most of his life in fresno digging out a home for himself. he planned on making the underground gardens a resort, a getaway from the heat of the central valley, but that never really worked out. it's pretty amazing to see what the guy did on a shoestring budget with basic tools and a lot of hard work. impressive stuff.
  • next we left fresno and took the scenic route to san luis obispo where we watched a movie, watched the celtics game, and ate at woodstock's pizza. at night we drove a bit towards our next destination and found a place to sleep in the car.
  • next morning we had breakfast in morro bay and walked around morro rock a bit. we went out onto the rocks and i got a little too close to the crashing waves and got wet. we worked our way up highway 1 until we got to hearst castle. i had been there before, but it had been a while so it was nice to visit it again, this time with a different point of view. actually, i had been to all the places we went on this trip because my family didn't take trips outside of california more than a few times (twice i went to alabama and once to hawaii on my grandfather's dime, and once i went to the four corners with my dad). seeing hearst castle this time from a handyman's point of view i thought about the builders who originally worked on the house and the work they had done and how well most of it had held up. i also thought about the current caretakers and what they must go through to make sure everything matches or doesn't do more damage than good. repointing brick is a good example. it's an old house so the mortar is probably lime based, rather than cement based. so they have to have it tested and reproduce the mix so that the brick doesn't break later down the line. what a headache.
  • on the road again, this time to monterey and the monterey bay aquarium. saw elijah wood and dana stublefield while we were there so that was kinda neat i guess. frodo is tiny. the aquarium isn't cheap, but it's got plenty to look at and much of it is stuff you're not going to see in real life in any other setting. meryl was underwhelmed.
  • after that we went for a little drive in pebble beach and saw the cypresses there. they're getting ready for the u.s. open.
  • stopping by luke's ranch was next on the agenda so we drove up to soquel for a visit. johnny, vern and ryan were also there along with their respective girlfriends. hadn't seen them in a while so that was good. had a campfire talk which is always nice. then watched the last few minutes of the lakers/suns game which was disappointing.
  • next morning we went to johnny and leigh's to check out their mold situation. turns out they have quite a few little projects to do around the house. i'd like to get to the point where i am confident enough to do every project around the house. not only because it would be good for me and my hopeful career, but also because it would be nice if i had experience doing enough things that i could advise people on how to move forward. a lot of what i'm able to do is from reading books or knowing how things should look in the end. getting there is another story. a lot of times you just have to figure things out as you're going. i think the next step in the evolution is knowing ahead of time what is likely to crop up and knowing how to address it before it happens. anticipation vs. read and react.
  • after visiting with them some more that morning we headed off to the mystery spot, but it was booked solid for the day so we headed off to the winchester mystery house. once at the winchester mystery house we did both tours - the mansion tour and the grounds/behind the scenes tour. the behind the scenes tour was nice, but could have been even better. it would have been nice if they gave us all flashlights and coveralls so we could crawl under the house some more to check out the plumbing and structure. it would have been neat to see how they did certain things. we did see the basement, but it wasn't as exhaustive a tour as i would have liked. again, i've been to the winchester mystery house, but seeing it this time was different. again i looked at it from a construction perspective. what would it have been like to be one of the workers building this house for such a weird old lady? the craftsmanship wasn't as good at that house as it was at the hearst house. the turnover was likely higher and the lack of a real architect (vs. julia morgan, who is one of the better architects of the time) probably contributed to this. that said, the finishes were quite nice, especially near the entryway.
  • after the mystery house we went home and took it easy.

  • 5-27-10 (17:26)

  • getting tomorrow off. four day weekend is nice.
  • did some shoring of the exterior wall in the bathroom. when i get back to work on that i'll cut out the old bottom plate and replace it with some fresh wood. then i'll cut out rotten studs one by one and replace.
  • open to suggestions on hardiebacker vs. durock/wonderboard. i've used plenty of durock and wonderboard in the past and i know it holds up well because i've seen it stored outside with no negative consequences, but hardie board also looks good and seems easier to work with. if you have experience with hardiebacker lemme know.
  • going to see the fresno family this weekend as well as do some other fun stuff with meryl. would love to have four days off in a row to work on the house, but i guess taking a break isn't such a bad idea either.

  • 5-26-10 (17:55)

  • sunday sarah and i worked on cleaning a patio for a guy i've done some work for before. monday after work we went back and finished the job by putting on a coat of lacquer for stone patios.

  • 5-22-10 (20:01)

  • ran again this morning.
  • worked on getting a solution to the toilet drain most of the day. as best i can tell, the only kosher way of doing it is to drill out the old insert, clean it all up, put in a cast iron stub, pack the space with lead wool and then join to the cast iron stub. the guy i talked with was an old plumber and he said that his starting rate for a job like that is was $350 and it goes up from there. seemed like a total pain in the ass and i'm not sure about the availability of lead wool these days. so i stubbed out with abs and used plumbing-specific epoxy to make the connection. once dry, i'll reach my hand inside to smooth the transition so waste won't work its way back between the abs and cast iron insert. if this doesn't work...i'll have to do it the hard way.

  • 5-19-10 (18:05)

  • ran in the morning. meryl did more than i did.
  • a couple came over to take some of our dirt so that was good. we're down to one pile now.
  • also took a load of trash to the dump.
  • worked on demo in the bathroom. rot is worse in some spots and not as bad in others than we had originally thought. it doesn't spread as much into the room as we thought, but it did rot out the bottom plate so that's unfortunate. it's an exterior wall so replacing that  will be an interesting process. we replaced one joist and got started on another. our toilet drain is made of lead which i've never seen before. i've heard of pouring hot lead into the joints which are usually packed with oakum (hemp), but never heard of a drain made entirely of lead. unsure how we're going to get that out and put in a new drain. would like to use abs. will need to find a way to get all the lead out and transition from cast iron hub to abs. we'll figure it out.

  • 5-18-10 (20:27)

  • been working on sorting through a lot of music lately. takes forever.
  • also been working on updating comments on house pictures and should upload updates tonight.
  • don't think this bp spill is in the top ten oil spills of all-time yet. interesting that berkeley hasn't been more up in arms about this oil spill for two reasons. first it's a major environmental disaster. second, ucb has a $500 million partnership with bp which wasn't well-received at the time and can't look any better now that bp is in the position they're in. guess finals and graduation and immigration knocked the oil spill off the protest docket.
  • the oil spill is big news for the rest of the country of course and i think that's a bit of good news. like the war in iraq we don't have a stomach for this stuff like we may have had at one point. at this point the war in afghanistan has lasted about as long as the war in vietnam (depending upon how you count it) and a 50th the number of people have died. while the outrage now isn't like it was against vietnam, i don't think it's a 50th the size. you get the point.
  • stone paper writes smoother than wood-based paper and apparently uses less water and energy to make. not sure how well it works with copy machines, but this could be the future.
  • here's a low hanging fruit to take some of the wind out of the sails of the (too) big (to fail) banks: make it illegal to charge any fee of any kind for using the atm of another bank. if i could use a b of a atm for credit union withdraws and deposits then i'd wouldn't have any problem switching.
  • some talented kids out there. alaska was the only state to have not submitted anything. pretty pathetic.

  • 5-17-10 (20:59)

  • suns don't have much of a chance in this series because they don't know what defense is. pretty pathetic to have the same problem for 6 years and not have made much progress in that time. celtics are the best team in the nba right now if you ask me. best coaching. best core four players. best defense. it should be them and the lakers and the celtics should win if they stay disciplined and focused. lakers will have homecourt though and it's a 2-3-2 series which i've never liked so it'll definitely be a fight.
  • meryl's parents came over yesterday and we had some rockband and eating. we cleaned the house and did errands during the day.

  • 5-12-10 (21:59)

  • took care of a bunch of little tasks around the house today. meryl was scraping paint off the garage door windows most of the time. i built another dvd case, this time using just scraps from other projects. doesn't look as good, but only thing i need to buy was some masonite backing which was $7. a clear pine case would have cost about 12 times that amount.
  • when we got the house a 4x8 sheet of osb was $7, now it sells for $15.50. other wood products have also gone up in price (2x4s up by 10%, plywood up about 10%), but osb has increased most dramatically. it's most likely a demand issue because supply can't have changed much since it's just made of glue and wood chips. osb is the goto material for sheathing these days so i guess it makes sense.
  • saturday we're going to do a little landscaping project in the back yard.
  • still have two big piles of dirt that need to disappear. hopefully we'll figure out a place for that to go on saturday.

  • 5-10-10 (17:46)

  • the weather is shit again. rained sporadically during the day. perhaps this is el nino related. maybe it's global warming, er climate change.
  • speaking of which, i believe in the science of global warming and definitely think that humans caused it or contributed to it greatly, but i don't have much faith in any of the computer models that show sea level rises of 3-50 feet and temperature changes that will wipe out X% of the world's species. i just don't have faith in science's ability to predict the future, especially when it comes to something as complex as the climate. especially when said climate can be changed so quickly and dramatically by things like a volcanic eruption.
  • going to start the running regime again today.

  • 5-9-10 (11:07)

  • got a decent amount done yesterday. worked in the backyard weeding, mowing the lawn, filling up the new shed, and generally cleaning up. still have a lot of trash bags and dirt to move, but things are moving along.
  • rained last night which is lame. not sure when this weather is going to get on track. rain doesn't exactly inspire me to get a lot done.
  • the new heating system is going to make working under the house more of a pain because there's less room down there now. had plans to reposition the main plumbing line and that may not be feasible anymore; at least without rerouting it in a much different way. original plan was to move it down a bit so that it didn't get in the way of the hot water line and the gas line, all of which are in the same basic area of the house and occasionally bump into each other. because of the furnace, though, i may need to bring the cold water supply through a totally different part of the house if i want the plumbing to be nicely supported and not in conflict with each other.
  • doctor said i don't have pneumonia which wasn't a surprise. latest theory is that the antibiotics worked, but my lungs were inflamed so i had residual coughing. gave me an inhaler to use which is supposed to help my lungs recover. funny because a girl at work said she had the same thing and they gave her an inhaler and antibiotics at the same time. i got the antibiotics and was told to call if i still had the cough in a week. not giving me the inhaler in this instance cost me a visit to the hospital for the xray and another visit to the doctor. we'll see how much the xray costs. when i asked the lady at the hospital she said she couldn't tell me how much the xray would cost because each insurance company has a different contract with the hospital. she said "you would know that information better than i would." really? what a fucking absurd system. obama's bill is just going to be a band-aid for a cancer that needs to be completely cut out of our society. what a waste of time. there are like 4 good things that are going to come out of it and the rest is basically trash if you ask me because it just works with the current system which is utterly flawed in fundamental ways. any "fix" that doesn't put the entire insurance industry in the toilet is probably not going to benefit the people as much as is possible.
  • i feel like a grumpy old man whenever i start thinking about bureaucrazy, er, bureaucracy. i know it's a part of modern life and i actually haven't had to deal with it as much as most people, but red tape and going from one department to another and being transferred from one phone line to another is just about the most annoying thing in life for me. if you want to start a business you have to deal with so many different forms and hurdles and talk to so many different departments that that alone is the biggest reason that i may not ever start a business. it's definitely the biggest reason i don't want to do any construction work with a permit. i've heard countless horror stories from people around here dealing with the building department. one hand says this and the other hand says something else. the building department says one thing and pg&e says another or the zoning department says yet another. it's the same thing when dealing with the uc campus. you get a project going and one guy says everything is fine and then another department comes in and says you should have gone through them and they'll charge you for doing the work even though they didn't administer any contractors. can't stand that kind of stuff. some people are really good at navigating those kinds of mazes, but i'd just rather stay poor or not work on the house or drop out of society all together. that's one area where the private sector is often better than government. with the private sector you just call the corporate headquarters and you know that that's who is in charge. with the government you have so many overlapping powers that you may get one department to be on your side or to approve something, but then you may have to deal with one, two, or three others and they can tell you something completely different. plus, they're the law so you can't really do anything about it. with the private sector you can usually choose someone else or tell them to fuck off, but that's not so true with the government.
  • lakers/jazz game was really good last night. jazz lost and will probably lose the series in five games as a result, but it was a good game anyway. most sports can be simplified to one basic element and in basketball it's that the team that makes shots wins the game almost all the time. the jazz had two shots in the last 5 seconds to win the game and they missed both. when the lakers had two shots in the last 5 seconds of game six against OKC kobe missed the first one and pau made the second one. they won the game and the series. all four of those shots were basically of equal degree of difficulty, but pau made his putback and matthews missed his. that's the game.
  • the nba is another fascist organization in the mold of apple. the latest evidence is the $25k fine given to danny ainge for throwing a towel in the air, yes literally. for "an unauthorized distraction and for conduct detrimental to the game." this reminds me of the last bulletpoint on my job description which is "other tasks as assigned." what a joke. what are the previous 20 bulletpoints for when the last one says i have to do whatever you say? the job description should just be "do what we say for $23/hr." it's at least honest. $25k for throwing a towel in the air just seems so entirely out of wack with what's happening in the world. there were two consecutive years of my life (2005 + 2006, i believe) where i made a fourth of that money (less than 6k per year) and he's being fined that much for a towel toss. it's outlandish and i have trouble understanding how it's even legal for the nba to fine that much. i very much suspect that the league has a line item in their budget for income due to fines. stu jackson, like everyone else in the organization, probably has some kind of quota to meet each year in terms of revenue from fines. sure, it's probably not much in the grand scheme of the league, but he's probably got to raise a few million each year by taking it away from the labor force and calling it discipline for "conduct detrimental to the game." this is probably part of the reason why they instituted a more strict dress code as well.
  • have i mentioned that lamar odom is probably the biggest waste of talent in the four major american sports? he is. also, if i were a coach for all the teams that phil jackson got to coach i'd probably have at least 3 championships. so, yeah, jackson is a better coach than i am, but he's also coached three of the best players in the last 20 years all while in their prime.

  • 5-6-10 (22:22)

  • updated pictures should be up in the next 24 hours. looks like i waited a long time before updating them. jeesh, didn't realize so much time had lapsed.
  • google looks different all of a sudden.
  • went to hospital today to get a chest x-ray because i still have a bit of a cough. guess they were trying to rule out pneumonia. x-ray tech said it looked clean to him. goto doctor tomorrow. we'll see.
  • hospital probably could have been less efficient if they tried, but it was about as inefficient and each person was about as unhelpful as you could expect when you assume that they're actually trying to be the opposite. there's an institutional failure there.
  • met our backyard neighbor the other day. she wants to pitch in to build the fence. nice. quite the opposite of our neighbor to the north.
  • got a shed the other day and assembled it. still need to build a base for it though. hope that'll just take an hour and can do it after work tomorrow.
  • getting heat installed this week. came yesterday to start. i'm doing the electrical and cutting the holes to help keep the cost a little lower. probably saved a few hundred bucks for just a few hours of work that way. still have to run one circuit for a service light and outlet, but got the main power to the switch tonight and cut all the holes for the floor registers yesterday.
  • sarah came by yesterday and i changed her oil. she helped construct the shed. we've been hanging out more lately which is nice.
  • it would be great to get all the loose ends wrapped up this weekend so we can get started on the next project which is the bathroom. that's a big project, the biggest of the remaining projects. hoping it'll be done in august. it would be great to have a week every month where i could just work on one project for seven days straight and get a lot of momentum going and make a lot of progress in a relatively short period of time. that's not going to happen. maybe i'll get walking pneumonia and the doctor will order me to not goto work for a couple weeks and i'll get state disability money and then i can work on the bathroom during that time. that would actually be the ideal situation. ideal of all the likely scenarios, that is.
  • i'm liberal in a lot of ways, but i don't see any reason to extend benefits to the unemployed beyond 99 weeks, or whatever the recent vote was. there are probably a few isolated incidents which warrant such an extension in which case people should be allowed to file an appeal, but the vast majority of people are likely turning down jobs that aren't ideal or aren't looking as hard as they could if they knew they weren't going to get a check next month. this is corroborated by interviews on npr as well as my own experience in talking with people i know who are on unemployment.
  • stock market took a shit today. funny stuff when you actually think about it. read a story wherein one guy said "we didn't know what stocks were worth today, and that's a problem." no fucking shit. what morons. when it comes to financial analysis probably my two most trusted sources are warren buffett and mark cuban. here's what cuban said today. it ties into my questions about the stock market that i've asked before: what is the purpose? why do we buy and sell stocks? are we giving money to companies we believe in so that they can get better and we can be a part of it, or are we just gambling? 90% of the time when i buy a stock it's because it's a company i believe in and their stock is, in my opinion, undervalued. ford is a great recent example. bought them at $4.40 and they went up to about 13 the other day. thought about selling, but i'm in for the long haul because i like them. chipotle is another example. bought at 80, they're at 135 now, thought about selling, but haven't. those two companies account for about 50% of my stock. i own a ford and i goto chipotle every week. cuban points out that traders now aren't people, they're formulas. just read it, he's not a billionaire by accident.

  • 5-3-10 (20:51)

  • garage is basically done. we painted the doors, finished putting away all the tools and all the lumber (except for some stuff on a sawhorses outside) is in the garage. we have an enormous amount of wood because i really don't like just throwing it away. i'd rather keep it and see if i can use it somewhere down the line.
  • also made a run to the dump so the backyard area isn't as ugly. still need to get rid of a bunch of dirt and mow the lawns.
  • got a shed the other day as well and started building that. that'll house the lawnmower and other garden supplies.
  • serge ibaka lost it for the thunder the other day. didn't box out pau gasol so gasol got the easy put back. nice series that would have been won by the lakers in game seven anyway, but i would have liked to see the lakers sweat it out another game. thunder played well overall. durant's scoring was a problem. they'll be back next year.
  • luck the fakers.
  • heard rush limbaugh talking about the oil spill today. hadn't heard any right wingers take it up yet so that was interesting. he mostly talked about the slow response of the administration. i assume he's incorrect and that the epa and obama administration didn't sit on their hands for 10 days, but i haven't followed the story that closely. mostly it was interesting because he didn't talk about offshore drilling, rather he just blamed the administration for being slow to react and he mentioned bush's slow response to katrina so that was surprising. these guys are so funny the way they're hypocritical. i don't know how they reconcile all that stuff in their heads.
  • weather seems to finally be settling into the sunny/clear time which is nice.
  • need to work harder at updating the page and watching movies.
  • still a bit sick. went to the doctor and they gave me some antibiotics. can't say they've helped all that much. i basically feel normal all day, but i have a cough and it's worse at night. she said that my lungs sounded full of fluid when i went in on thursday. she also asked if i had ever had pneumonia which i took as a bad sign, but maybe she was just checking. she referred me to an ear doctor so hopefully i can figure out why my ears crack whenever i swallow hard. definitely feel like i'm getting older.
  • will start running again when this cough is gone.
  • would like to be a really good gardener. have a good understanding of crop rotation, planting schedules, how to clone plants, what stuff works well in what conditions, etc. why is it easier to take a class on how the economy supposedly works than it is to take a class on how to grow fruits and vegetables? for a long time i've felt like the study of economics is kind of a crock of shit.
  • i thought that having a house would be good for my social life - i'd have more people over for bbqs and have them over to help out with the house and whatnot. that hasn't really happened. most of my friends live at least an hour away and most people i know don't really enjoy working for 10 hours on this kind of stuff, especially when it's not their house, which is understandable. bottom line is that i'm not really all that social. in looking back i think that the choice to not do drugs or alcohol was a form of social suicide whether i knew it or not. you don't get invited to a lot of stuff when people know you don't drink, especially when they think (wrongly) that you may be judging them more harshly.
  • for the most part my life has been a middle of the road one. there haven't been a lot of highs or lows outside of the early years when all sorts of things outside of my control went on. it's likely that when i die my eulogy will be a fairly basic one. unlike thieves and rapists i'll probably have a few people show up and one of them will be willing to say a few words, but unlike great people i won't have a bunch of people there and no one will go on and on about all the great things i did in my life. to date it's been fairly prosaic and selfish, to be honest. i've done some nice things for myself like going on cool trips and i've tried not to do harm. i've been an adequate friend and son. that's pretty much the way most people live their life yet this description is somehow a sad sounding one. i'll have to figure out why that is.
  • my dad's an interesting guy. from what i can gather he was basically a little shit head for the first part of his life and he did plenty of unsavory things along the way and now he seems to have figured things out and is living a good life and trying to teach people not to make the same mistakes he made. i can't tell whether it's better to live that life or mine. inflicting some great pain, but some great pleasure or inflicting neither great pain nor great pleasure.
  • i think it's sad that people are only honest about how they feel about you after you die. people give all these great eulogies and you have to wonder if they ever told those people what they felt while they were alive. assholes. i guess we're all assholes like that. we can't be honest with people. i think i'm more honest than most. guess it's a start.
  • i gotta do that brain fitness gym thing that we got for donating to npr. hopefully it'll improve my memory. just gotta remember to do it each day.
  • i gotta make a list of movies to revisit. memento should go on the list. i watch more movies than average, but feel like i can never watch all the movies i'd like to. people always recommend movies and then there are movies that i'd like to see and then there are movies i'd like to revisit and then there are movies that fill the gap. whenever my dad recommends a movie i've never seen he'll joke "congratulations, you've got something to live for."
  • after the shed is assembled we'll likely move onto the laundry room. also have to do the bathroom and the art room addition. may be getting heat installed soon.

  • will try to upload new pictures in the next day or two.

    4-26-10 (20:37)

  • haven't been all that productive lately.
  • humans are messed up.
  • haven't gotten back into running since the cold hit me. think i'll be back on track this week though.
  • garage is coming along. almost finished with all the storage shelves and that are scattered throughout the structure. need to add two small ones and one bigger one that will be above the entry. this project has definitely gone on longer than i had hoped. they always do.
  • work has been annoying lately.
  • feels like there's always something i have to do at work or at home. think i prefer the boring days when i was living in ohio.
  • supposed to rain for the next three days. not sure what the hell is going on with the weather the last month or so.
  • pledged $120 to kdvs this week. got three awesome t-shirts. still listen to them every week. pledge drive is technically over, but they haven't reached their goal yet so help them out.
  • african queen is finally on blu-ray. skipped dvd somehow. took 13 years for it to come to digital disc of some kind in america. that's pathetic.

  • 4-23-10 (17:45)

  • niners did pretty well in the first round of the draft. need help on the o-line and got two potential starters in one day so that's good news. we'll see how it goes today.
  • haven't been good about updating anything lately.
  • hope to get the floor poured tomorrow so that the garage can be done shortly. if i get it poured tomorrow then sunday can be a day of assembling everything and bringing stuff into the garage finally.

  • 4-21-10 (17:00)

  • still coughing. last few days i've felt the same. made appt. with doctor next thursday, hopefully i'm better by then.
  • work was busy today.
  • hope to pour the new floor on saturday. that's been holding up the garage progress a bit lately. also haven't felt inspired because i'm sick. weather has also not helped. hate this weather.
  • tired.
  • will try to get pics updated soon.
  • lakers-thunder game yesterday was par for the course. it seems that every year there's a team that plays the lakers and has never watched a lakers series before. very few people seem to learn from the mistakes that other teams have made when guarding kobe, for example. even when you know what to do kobe is hard to guard, but it really ticks me off when they don't know how to guard the guy. he's played the fourth most minutes of any active nba player and you haven't figured out the guys' damn scouting report? seriously these players are retarded sometimes. stay on your feet, take away the drive, get a hand in his face, make him play defense, keep the ball away from him, make the other players beat you. it's just bizarre that guys haven't followed in the steps of artest, christie and battier who all have figured out how to limit his production. instead, you get some guy who wants to reinvent the wheel and guard him straight up and then they get lit up for 30-40 points. morons. there's no excuse for not knowing how to defend him and the lakers in general. we see them every year, we know how they beat teams so we should know by now how to play them. i'm not saying beating them is easy, but when you don't even know how to approach them properly then you don't stand a chance in a seven game series.
  • last night's game was fun, but frustrating because the thunder played a good game, but not a smart one. i lay the blame partially on the coaching staff which obviously didn't give the players enough prep on kobe, but the players also missed opportunities and played some dumb basketball at times. hate the lakers.

  • 4-19-10 (14:06)

  • here's a bit i had on my page on 3/3/04:
  • "'In a Washington Post column, Steven Pearlstein speculates that recent comments made by Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan were politically motivated.  Unlikely to seek another stint at the helm of the central bank, the nation's top economist instead has used his final months there to stump for what Pearlstein calls "a radically conservative agenda while serving as a cheerleader for the Bush-Cheney reelection campaign."  Greenspan in recent weeks has shrugged off concerns about burgeoning household debt, the falling U.S. dollar, and the prospect of a housing bubble; and, most recently, declared that 30-year, fixed mortgages are too costly when compared to adjustable-rate loans.  He also has lobbied lawmakers to privatize Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac--ironic, writes Pearlstein, considering that the central bank chairman previously has supported government efforts to help financially troubled banks and showed no concern over their rampant growth but n ow believes the rapid expansion of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac is too risky.  Greenspan also wants lawmakers to slash Medicare and Social Security benefits to shrink the federal budget deficit, but he opposes hiking taxes as a means of balancing the budget--all of which speak to his support of the Bush-Cheney reelection.'"
  • prophetic.
  • here's another bit i had on my page around that time:
  • "i'm really pissed off about the election results. props 57 and 58 passed which means we're going to go into greater debt. people don't understand something. they either don't understand how debt works or what the difference is between the deficit and the debt. deficit is yearly, debt is the sum of deficits and surpluses from the past. the bond will give us money now, but give us more of a deficit in the future, thereby increasing our debt. unless the governor has some brilliant way to spend this money that will increase our tax base or generate other revenue streams then the bonds will only help us in the short term and hurt us a great deal in the long term. it was infinitely stupid to vote for 58. if i were arnold i'd let the voters know that because they voted for morons (governors AND congressmen) in the past they're going to pay for it. i'd go after the energy giants that bilked the state out of billions, i'd reinstitute the car tax, though i'd probably cut it a bit, i'd raise property taxes for the ultra-rich and tie this tax in with income taxes so that retired people and farmers who happen to have highly valued homes wouldn't lose their property, i'd raise income taxes for the top one percent of income earners, i'd have my people start looking into prisoners who have been in prison for a long time for petty crimes or people who are over a certain age (let's say 60) and who have been in prison for more than (let's say) five years in an effort to reduce our outlay for the enormously bloated prison system, and i'd institute a temporary half cent tax on high sugar content items like candy and soda. i've heard that a half cent tax on each can of soda alone, would bring in a couple billion dollars a year. all of the above would bring us out of the deficit we currently face without putting us further into debt or eliminating any critical programs. the rich would grumble and i wouldn't get reelected, but it would be the right thing to do. it combines the cutting of a bloated and unethical prison system, slight temporary taxes on sweets, and more equitable long-term taxing of the super-rich."
  • still coughing.

  • 4-15-10 (17:44)

  • been sick the last day or two. being sick sucks.
  • got a new fridge the other day.
  • got all the concrete out. still need to unload the remaining dirt and trash, though.
  • this cold is kicking my ass.

  • 4-10-10 (13:18)

  • garage roof got done yesterday. paid more than i would have liked, but we needed to re-sheath the entire thing because much of it was rotten on top. awesome.
  • shitload of garbage in the back now from all the roofing stuff. sarah came by to help, but we ran out of bags for all of it so that's that.
  • now we need to break out the really bad portion of the slab in the back of the garage. not sure where all that concrete is going to go. so, if you're keeping track, we have a couple yards of dirt still in the back, a roof's worth of garbage and we'll soon have even more concrete. it's amazing how trashy the back is right now and it's not getting better any time soon.
  • meryl's sick so she's doing light work and i might be getting sick, but i want to get rid of all this stuff. would be great to have like 5 friends over to knock all this stuff out. would also be great to have 5 friends. would be even better to have 5 friends with 5 trucks.

  • 4-6-10 (19:34)

  • work was shit today.
  • got an overdraft fee. this rarely happens and yesterday i was considering depositing a check, but didn't because i hadn't signed it. i knew i was close, but couldn't think of anything that would push me into the negative and i knew that i had the overdraft law on my side and was getting paid today so i didn't bother hunting a pen down to endorse the check. well, apparently the overdraft law goes into effect later this year and i had a parking ticket payment in the mail so i got dinged another $34 for a $40 ticket. i pay hundreds of dollars in parking fines a year and it's still more economically reasonable for me to park on the street and take my chances than it is to pay for parking on campus or on the street. i don't work 5 days a week so that's one consideration, but even if i worked a full week i think that paying for parking comes to at least $8/day and a $40 ticket just means i have to avoid a ticket once every 6 days or so. i usually average one ticket per 12 days of work, though recently it's been worse. public transit isn't at all convenient nor is it very cheap. sometimes i have to run errands at work or go somewhere after work in which case having a car is necessary. time on the bus or train would be nice in terms of reading or listening to music, but it would mean a few hours a week less work would be done on the house which has already taken far too long.
  • this guy nails it on the ipad. it's also a tweener technology that will either basically eliminate laptops or become an esoteric device used mostly by hipsters and/or medical technicians or something similar. the thing about apple is that it's a cult so they could pretty much package a pile of shit in a nice looking box and people would buy it. it looks cool and it's a toy. functionality and the ability to tinker are much lower down on the list of the average apple buyer in my opinion. apple as a company is about as fascist as it gets. lucky for their consumers they are big enough to change the way others do business. apple consumers are kind of like bmw owners - they want something that's cool and works well. when something goes wrong they want to throw money at it to get it right again. they don't mind having a box for an engine or zero screws on an iphone. in many ways i can understand this. i've had plenty of problems with my ibm computers and it can be a real pain. apple is the future in large part because people don't want to (and can't) manage their own things anymore. gone is the time when your vacuum cleaner would break and you'd see dad taking it apart to fix it or even taking it into a repair shop. trash it and buy a new one; that's the modern mantra.
  • i hate itunes, but think that the ipod is quite good. i've had few, if any, problems with mine and it was a model that was pulled and then rereleased. it's also (still) the only mp3 player i know of that carries 160gb, er 143gb, of files. the problem is itunes which is a fascist program that is epically bad unless you don't care about the organization of your music or the ability to customize views, etc. basically, if windows came out with windows 95 tomorrow and called it their new OS that would be the quality equivalent of apple's itunes. maybe it's a million times better if you have a mac, or maybe not.

  • 4-2-10 (15:06)

  • got off work a bit early today. going to dinner with meryl and her dad tonight.

  • would like to get power up and running in the garage this weekend, but we'll see if the rain slows me down at all.

    3-31-10 (18:54)

  • day off today. got much of the sheathing up in the garage. should be done after a few more hours of work. we also took two truckloads of dirt out of the backyard and to terry's house. terry is our garbage collector and he saw the truck full of dirt and asked if we were getting rid of it. we said yes and he asked if we wanted to take it to his house. that worked out well for us because the other guy i wanted to give it to gave me a wrong number so all i had was his address and i didn't want to just dump it in front of his house. we still have 2-3 truckloads of dirt left, but we got a good area cleared now so that's nice.
  • yesterday was another run day for me. this was the second time i've run in probably 10 years and it went pretty well. ran about 2 miles and then rested by walking for about 3 minutes. then ran another mile at a pretty good clip. definitely felt like the old track/cross-country days. it's amazing how quickly it comes back to you. the smell and the feel never leave you. need to continue to work on my base for at least a couple months before training can get more interesting.

  • 3-29-10 (19:37)

  • been exceptionally busy the last week or so.
  • decided on a whim to go to la on tuesday so i left after work and then returned here on friday. while i was there i picked up a couch, some wood, and some wine boxes from my grandma and dad. the wood and boxes are for garage projects. couch is now in the living room, sold our little black one.
  • also went to two nice hardware stores - anawalt lumber and koontz hardware. both great in their own way.
  • also went to the apple pan which is a well-known burger joint on pico. still holding it down after like 90 years, still selling good quality burgers on paper plates. had some apple pie afterwards too. good place. of course i also went to rocco's in topanga which is my favorite restaurant anywhere. also went to pinkberry finally. good if you like tarty frozen yogurt, i don't. one is going to open on telegraph soon i think. all berkeley needs is another freaking frozen yogurt place. jeesh. also went to a place called millions of milkshakes. good but not amazing. soft serve ice cream is inferior, but still tasty. best soft serve i've ever had was the maple soft serve dipped in maple sugar that we had in vermont at morse maple farm.
  • march madness has been good this time around. good upsets and some solid games. the xavier/ksu game was memorable. 2ot and lots of big shots made.
  • today they hauled away the last of the garage debris so they're done with their part. i need to sheath the interior with plywood then i can finish the electrical. rough electrical is done so that's good. i definitely enjoy electrical more than any other phase of construction. framing is fun and feels like you're getting a lot done, but electrical is even better. plumbing can be good when it goes well, but it usually doesn't go great for me.
  • also need to rip off roof, put on new roofing, cut out bad part of the slab, pour new slab, and then start installing all the interior stuff (shelving, workbenches, etc.). it would be great to have a week off to work on these things, but that's not happening any time soon.
  • saturday i worked on the garage.
  • sunday i woke up on the early side and ran a couple miles with meryl. first time in many years that i've done any running and it went fairly well. calves are a bit sore today. i'm training for a run that her family is doing and they invited me. it's a 52 mile relay, but i'll only be doing like 6-8 miles of that because i only have 5 months to train.
  • went to the alumni house to install toilets. installed three new toilets, fourth toilet won't fit because of some questionable plumbing. also had the fantasy baseball draft and some basketball games going on that day.
  • internet isn't working very well lately. not sure if it's the browser or the internet provider or the wiring. lame.
  • rated about 6,000 songs in my library so far. 27,000+ to go. hope to be done by this time next year.
  • memory is total shit the last couple years. really need to find a solution to this or i'm going to be a pathetic old man who can't remember to clean the spit off my chin.
  • got about 8 artichokes growing on our artichoke plant. i honestly didn't think it would produce anything because it just seemed out of control (5 feet tall and about 8 feet wide). when lettuce bolts it stops producing good stuff, but i guess having a big plant isn't a bad thing with artichokes. it seemingly happened overnight. meryl noticed it yesterday and it was a nice surprise. we may have some homegrown artichoke in a week or two. we hope to plant tomato and other plants in the next week.
  • allergy medicine seems to have done the trick. i use the fluticasone nasal spray and it works great so far.

  • 3-19-10 (17:48)

  • work started on installing the header today. first they stripped some of the shoring that was keeping the pressure off the new foundation, but now the foundation is carrying most of the load. they took off the garage doors and started to install the header. now that most of the shoring is off the walls we can get started on nailing up the electrical boxes and sistering the 2x4s to the 2x3 studs. i'm hoping everything on their end will be done by the end of next week.
  • we still haven't gotten rid of all the dirt that is in the backyard so it's quite a mess, we'll see how that pans out. we might end up having to haul it away on our own, but that's going to take several trips because the truck can only handle about 1,000 lbs at a time and we have probably 6 loads worth of work. we'll see how that goes. maybe if we stretch it out over the course of the next couple weeks it won't be so bad. will need to find a place that handles dirt on the cheap.
  • march madness has been good so far. watched a decent amount of the evening games yesterday. washington pulled out a victory. i had marquette winning that one. as usual my bracket doesn't look very good. i don't take enough risks on the lower seeds so i tend to be in the middle of the pack.
  • i honestly don't know how i'd vote on the healthcare bill if i were in congress. it feels to me like the biggest reason to vote for it at this point is to stick it to the republicans and that's a shitty reason to vote for something so big. over time the bill has gotten less and less to my liking (never even discussed single payer, dropped public option a few months ago, seems to cover fewer and fewer people each time, there seems to be more provisions for the votes of individual congressmen, etc.). it's just a mess and it's difficult to keep up with what the bill actually is anymore. then there's the fact that the dems are going to use reconciliation or deem and pass. the whole thing is just out of control. i had hoped that obama would help change some of these rules so they don't get used against him and the dems after they lose the majority in 2010 or 2012, instead they're just getting as much as they can while they're in power. unfortunately they seem to be getting the worst of both worlds: compromising on the bill by taking out key provisions like the public option and leaving many things off the table because of backroom meetings with big pharma, but also using questionable tactics like deem and pass or reconciliation. unless someone is willing to put their foot down while they are in power this is just going to continually get worse and worse and devolve into continuous tit for tat b.s. the system is corrupted. the people gave the dems a chance and this is what they came up with? it's pathetic, but i'd almost vote for it just because i don't want to see the republicans win. them winning this battle could almost be as bad as us going down this spiral of tit for tat lawmaking. i'm almost to the point where i say we should scrap the whole thing and start over. not the healthcare bill, the constitution.
  • busy as usual these days.
  • it has annoyed me for many years how media outlets will write a headline like this: "tiger woods has sex with little girls, says source." they lead with the claim and then cite the source. to me it should read: "source says tiger woods has sex with little girls." it's not always bad stuff that they put this way, but when it's not a fact it seems to me that they should emphasize the source first and then the accusation or whatever it is, not vise versa.

  • 3-15-10 (16:28)

  • concrete pour went pretty well. it was messy because the pump doesn't have a shutoff at the spout, rather you have to press a button and that turns off the pump remotely. seems to me as though it would be better to have a valve at the spout, i know that's how some places do it. they're finishing it up right now. there wasn't enough to fully fill in the trench, but most of it is filled in so that works for me.
  • the actual pour is fairly stressful because there are overage charges if you spend too much time pumping. they only give you 4 minutes per yard of concrete so you have to get it all out as quickly as possible. then they clean up and you trowel the edges and clean-up. once they leave the stress is gone because you don't have the noise of the pump and the truck and you're off the clock at that point.

  • 3-15-10 (14:11)

  • forms are done and ready for concrete. truck should be here in the next two hours, though they haven't called yet to tell me they are on their way. hopefully it goes well and we have enough leftover to fill in the trench from the electrical dig. we'll see. it'll take about 4-5 days before they can take the supports off the building and let it fully rest on the new foundation.
  • haven't done much today. mostly waiting for the concrete and wasting time. haven't been overly productive while the garage has been getting work done on it. without having clean access to my tools and having them out where i can work without having to worry about dust issues, it's been difficult. trying to get things ready so that the garage can move quickly once they are done with their end of the work.
  • latest issue with the garage is uncertainty about how to address the slab floor. our plan for right now is to cut off the back third where it's really badly cracked and re-pour that ourselves. the rest we will either leave as-is or grind down in areas and then put an epoxy over it to mask the many imperfections. a whole new slab would probably be $1000 assuming we subbed out the finishing and hauling away of concrete.
  • the healthcare thing seems inevitable at this point. not sure what kind of beast we're going to end up with, but it seems as though something will happen. republicans seem to be wearing down and obama really needs it to pass at this point. i hate having to wait so long before we can really judge the impact of these things. we don't fully know the impact of clinton and bush yet, much less obama. it's like a story that takes years to unfold, but by the time the questions have been answered i've already forgotten all the key elements of the question i had in the first place. same goes for the nfl and nba drafts, though the results happen a bit faster and are more clearly defined.

  • 3-13-10 (18:01)

  • once in a while i'll check the old updates. here's one from 3/30/09:
  • "yesterday jon came over and helped with the garage project. problem: garage has three cross beams/joists running from opposing top plates, all three have fallen off the top plate on one side or the other. south wall is about 4 inches out of plumb. north wall about 2 inches out of plumb. south wall is partially off the foundation. solution: i rigged up a 4x4 in the middle of the garage and 2 2x8s on the south wall. using two come-alongs we pulled on the wall. doing this we were able to get the bottom of the south wall back on the foundation. replaced part of the mudsill and attached it to the foundation and rest of the south wall. we were unable to get the top of the wall any significant amount closer to the north wall. after jon left i extended the cross beams by sistering a 2x4 to them. this sistered 2x4 now rests on the top plate on all three beams. they're attached to the top plates using hurricane ties. overall it was a mixed results type of day. i really would have liked to get the south wall within 2 inches of plumb, but that was not to be. even if i had adopted the word for word plan of the engineer i don't think that the come alongs would have had enough power to move the wall. the wall itself isn't the problem, it's more that in trying to move it we were trying to move the entire roof and west wall that became a problem. the good news is that the band-aid that we applied should make the structure a little more stout. it's now at least partially attached to the foundation and the cross beams are holding the roof together a lot more than they were when they were dangling in the middle of the garage. ultimately this project is probably going to require a professional to lift the building, replace the slab foundation, and straighten it. no idea how much that would cost or if there is an easier way to get: 1) the building straight 2) a new foundation (which is badly cracked and not at all flat/level)."
  • looks like it'll be a year later that that problem finally gets solved and yes it took a professional and yest they had to lift the building. funny to see how expectations change and how my idea of a productive day has changed. learned a lot in that time too.
  • really looking forward to them being done with the structure so we can move onto the roof and electrical. pretty much settled on the shop lights i want. meryl and i will figure out the layout this weekend. that'll include the tools and storage as well as the electrical outlets.

  • 3-13-10 (14:36)

  • four cop cars and a helicopter showed up at the end of the block last week. arrested some guy on the front lawn of a house on the end of the block and seemed to be all. not sure about the story, but they had him on his stomach and all that so it would appear he didn't want to go.
  • garage is making progress, but it's been a little slow. doing the rebar and setting the mudsill took longer than i thought. they will form up and pour concrete on monday. taking that day off instead of wednesday so i can be around.
  • on thursday i finished the electrical rough-in. hurt my back that day so that sucked. when meryl came home she helped me feed the wire into the conduit. went fairly well. after they pour the foundation they'll replace the header and set the beam. then we should be ready to go on the roof and electrical.
  • today i filled in the electrical trench with dirt and hopefully we have enough leftover concrete after the foundation to pour some in the trench. it doesn't need to look great or anything, but i'd rather have the top two inches filled with concrete than with just dirt or left open. in a year we'll probably redo the entire driveway, though, so it's not like we're looking for perfection at this point.
  • also drove in the ground rod for the garage subpanel. even with the rotohammer that took a while and i ended up resorting to the sledgehammer to get the last few inches down.
  • trying to take it somewhat easy this weekend because my back wasn't feeling so great after thursday. i think that it didn't heal 100% after i hurt it a while back.

  • 3-10-10 (17:53)

  • haven't been shot at this week or anything so that's nice.
  • guys couldn't work today because they had another job to button up. should be here tomorrow though to form up the foundation. i'm hoping that will only take a day and that we can pour on friday. that would give it a couple days to cure and then hopefully they could take off the forms on monday. we're also going to have them put up the beam and header because they work well and have reasonable rates. it'll also allow me time to work on the electrical and get ready to have the roofing underway. if all goes well we could start the roofing next weekend, but that depends upon a lot of things - the weather, the schedule for the guys doing the structure, the availability of the roofing from home depot, and the schedule for the guy whose help i plan on getting for the roof. i'm also hoping that the roofing only takes three days. one for tear off, one for prep and tar paper and one for roofing and finishing touches. haven't quite decided what we're doing about the downspouts (or lack thereof) and the shed (which we'd have to build or buy for our gardening stuff).
  • tomorrow's goals are to help them do everything they need to do to get the forms set and also to get the electrical conduit roughed it and ready for the pour. pretty sure i have everything i need.
  • hope to make a trip down to la at some point as well.
  • updated movies and pictures pages.

  • 3-9-10 (17:32)

  • dug out the foundation for the garage today. meryl was here for about an hour to help then her stepbrother came by for a few hours and we also hired rafael (who did our art room stucco patch) to help. it went well. took about 4 hours which was about 2 hours less than i thought it was going to take. about 3 yards of dirt we took out from under the garage. at this point the garage is completely lifted off the ground, it's pretty cool. took today and tomorrow off. hopefully we'll run the electrical conduit tomorrow which will go through the foundation and up and into the interior of the garage. that would be even better than the original plan which was to run an LB in through the exterior of the wall. this is cleaner and has less of a chance of leaking. if we get the forms up and the conduit in tomorrow i'll be happy. that would mean the concrete would go in on thursday which would be great.
  • the updated pictures page should be online by the end of the night.

  • 3-7-10 (17:06)

  • haven't had much time lately. did my aa picks real quick.
  • garage is lifted, but they still have some work to do before it'll be time to dig out the foundation. hope to do that on tuesday if i can get the time off.
  • mostly worked in the back this weekend. finishing up the drainage and whatnot.

  • 3-3-10 (07:47)

  • first garage guy is here today, others will arrive shortly. seems nice, hope they get a lot done today in spite of the rain issues.
  • the drainage that we installed on the side of the house seems to be keeping that area relatively mud free so that's a good thing.

  • 3-1-10 (18:04)

  • would have liked to see more of the health care reform meeting on cspan, but only watched the stuff covered by the daily show. at one point mccain talks about a b.s. amendment that would have excluded floridians from some provisions of the bill because it was politically expedient and would have gained some votes. he mentioned this fully expecting excuses and push back from obama. instead obama replied "i think you make a valid point." mccain's first response was reflexive in that he started to argue with obama about the point, but after a few seconds he realized that obama had conceded the point and he stopped and just shut up. he was so geared up for a confrontation that he didn't even hear obama's reply. this is a microcosm for the entire approach by the republicans on this issue. got a good amount done around the house over the weekend. saturday i cleaned up the rest of the garage. took all the shelves off the wall as well as the work benches that lined the north wall. now the walls are completely empty.
  • after the garage i tackled some of the flooding problems we've had. i bought a pump the other day and rigged it up to pump out all the water from the trench we dug the other day. i also pumped out the water which had gathered underneath the house on the west side crawl space. it was an annoying job because i was muddy the entire time. i also took out meryl's afci breaker and replaced it with a normal breaker because her afci trips with her computer and the iron and other things. it can be very annoying. customer service is something i appreciate more and more as i get older. as i try to fix, rather than replace, things i'm finding that customer service is a valuable component of a company's product. i've been having trouble with cutler-hammer afci breakers tripping when i plug in certain devices so i called them up today and the tech is sending me a device that should cut down the noise on the line and hopefully solve the problem. this was free of charge and he also asked that i call him back because he was interested in finding out how it worked for me. this shows that he's interested in improving the quality of the product and his customer service. i can appreciate both of those things.
  • yesterday we decided, somewhat on a whim, to solve the drainage issues we've been having on the north side of the house. the problems are: the neighbor has a cement driveway and all the water from her side drains to our side, there are three downspouts on the north side that dump the roof runoff onto the north side strip, and of course there's the usual amount of rain that it would normally get as well. all this accumulates on the side of the house and sits there until it can work its way down and (eventually) that ends up in a low spot under the west side of the house. so we drew up a plan to run perforated pipe on the north side of the house and have it drain to the backyard. we went to home depot, bought the pipe, 9 cubic feet of gravel, and hired a laborer named george (or jorge; he called himself george, but when i asked he said jorge or george was fine). he helped a bunch and did a great job of digging the trench along the side of the house. while he did that meryl and i relocated the birds of paradise because that's where our dry well was going to be located. after relocating the birds of paradise we got started on digging the dry wells. we didn't actually buy a drywell system, instead we bought two garbage cans and drilled holes in them. it should be strong enough (they're located in an area that doesn't really get foot traffic), it's cheaper, and it's better than filling the holes with gravel because it allows for more space for water. i hope it works. meryl made two more trips to HD for a total of 1 cubic yard of gravel. it was a lot of work shoveling the dirt from the side of the house to the back of the house and then shoveling the gravel from the truck to the back of the house to the side of the house (using buckets because the wheelbarrow couldn't back there once the trench had been dug. jorge helped a bunch, it would have been hellish without him. meryl is finishing up some of the final touches on the trench today and it should all be done on wednesday.
  • when digging the trench we came across a rusted metal pipe about 1.5" in diameter. we determined that it had to be either water or gas supply, but it was on a side of the building that didn't make much sense for either. it was right next to the fireplace so i guess that it was a gas line, but the fireplace doesn't look like it ever had gas piped in or a valve to control gas. i called 811 to see what they could do, but they require 2 days notice and make a point to say that you're supposed to call before you dig. i knew you were supposed to call before you dig, but i really had no idea that there would be anything there and we were digging by hand so it's not like we were likely to do damage to anything. the guy on the phone said that the law requires you to call before you dig anywhere on your property. i asked "even 6 inches?" he said "anymore than 1cm down and you're required to call." "even for planting a flower?" "yes." so my first thought was that's fucking silly and my second thought was why the hell does the law specify 1 cm? are we in freaking france or something? for crying out loud, if you're going to be a fascist and make me call you to plant a daisy, at least use the standard system of measurement. earlier today meryl heard a noise while at home. turns that a couple of idiots were driving after each other shooting at one another. i swear, this stuff gets better everyday. idiots stopping in the middle of the highway, people pissing on the side of the street, people stealing my bike and breaking into my truck for $4 in change, people getting arrested in front of whole foods market with guns drawn, and now a shooting right in front of our house. awesome.
  • while we were doing this we also watched/listened to the hockey game. we watched the first period while we ate lunch. then we listened to the second period and first half of the third period while we worked. then we stopped and watched the second half of the third period and overtime. exciting game. i'm happy about the way we performed. i'm not as crushed by our defeat as a canadian would have been so i guess it's okay that we lost. would have been nice to win, but they wanted it more so i'm okay with it. we showed them that we deserve respect by beating them once and then taking them to OT the second time.
  • overall the canadians had a very respectable showing in the olympics so they should be happy about that. we also did very well including some really unexpected medals in the nordic events. curling was a blast to watch as usual. winter isn't as good as summer, but the olympics are always great. now it's time for march madness.
  • continuing the thoughts that began here, today there was a shooting on our block. apparently a couple guys were chasing each other in their cars and then shooting at one another. cops were on our block picking up shell casings when meryl came outside. that's always a good sign. also forgot to mention in that same vein that in the last month two houses on our street have been broken into and robbed during the day. we'll see how much better this can get. i guess the next step is for us to get robbed and/or shot at so hopefully this is just a fluke, but, to recap the last couple weeks i have witnessed or lived/worked near the following: two separate instances of psychos getting out of their vehicles in the middle of a highway, two robberies, one armed stand-off with police, one minor riot, one construction disaster that could have killed anyone underneath.

  • 2-26-10 (17:18)

  • probable start date of 3/3 for garage.
  • in the last week while driving to/from work i've seen the following events: accident in left lane of highway 13 (two land highway). lady who was hit gets out of car while both cars are still in left lane and begins berating driver of second car. he gets out of car, puts on his shoes and looks at the damage. i drove by and told them to get out of the middle of the road. two days later on highway 580e (4-5 lane interstate). in the second lane from the left a gmc tahoe with flashing lights on the inside (unmarked, but possible undercover vehicle?) stops a guy on the highway. guy in the tahoe gets out of his suv and walks up to the other car and starts talking to him. this is on a highway with a posted speed limit of 65mph. today on my way back from work two cop cars speed by me on telegraph ave. i catch up with them a few blocks later and they're in front of a whole foods market along with 3-4 other cop cars. i see one cop taking a man in handcuffs to a cruiser. the other cops have their guns drawn (including one with a rifle who is behind a tree) and are pointing their guns at another guy who drops to his knees. lady cop begins cuffing him and a guy cop comes up and pushes the guy's face on the ground (minimal damage, didn't look abusive to me) and helps cop #1 cuff the guy. i drive away.
  • last night, about 100 yards from where i work a small riot broke out in berkeley. it started as a protest and it got out of hand. there were fires, two arrests, a couple broken windows and a bunch of vandalism in a nearby campus building.
  • yesterday during work i was walking to my car and saw the following: construction site at corner of bancroft/dana, big forklift (the kind that can lift loads 4-5 stories high) has basic 4" strap hanging from one of its tines. this 4" strap is connected to another 4" strap which is roughly in the middle of a delivery of TJIs. they're probably 20' long and though TJIs aren't as heavy as beams or solid sawn lumber, they're not light either. i'd guess about 5lbs/ft which means each TJI is about 100lbs and they had at least 8-10 in this pack, so easily 800lbs of weight being lifted by a single 4" strap which is connected to another 4" strap in a figure 8 loop. they had three guys running this operation - one blocking traffic from turning onto dana which is where the forklift was. one running the forklift and one at the top of the fourth floor which is where the TJIs were going to be delivered. when i saw it the joists were already at about a 10 degree angle and were looking shaky to my eyes, but i've never run a forklift so what do i know? one the way up the load hits the side of the new structure and it starts twisting (because only one strap is attached to it, instead of two or more points of support as a sane person might recommend). when the load gets to about the third floor it shifts to the point that it's now about 20 degrees out of level and ready to slip out of the loop and fall. the guy at the top tells the guy running the lift to bring it back down and about two seconds after he reverses course (starts bringing the load to the ground) it takes the express route down by slipping out of the loop and crushing the remaining lumber below. thankfully no pedestrians or workers were underneath because they would have died.
  • so, one riot, one near shootout, one construction debacle, and two roadway incidents all in one week. city living, yes, but that doesn't explain it all. this place is crazy.
  • i find that i sometimes give the benefit of doubt too much. in the construction situation it was clear to me (because i have a basic understanding of fundamental physics) that the friction force of the lumber (which was wrapped in plastic) and the strap wasn't likely going to be sufficient to keep the load from slipping out of the pathetically supported strap they rigged up. instead of running over there and telling them that they could kill someone, i deferred to their judgment saying to myself "well, they're the experts, they do this everyday, so i'm sure they took the proper precautions." while i was walking over there to look at the operation i started running through scenarios in my head. i had my cellphone and i knew what i would do if someone was hurt, but i didn't do anything to prevent it because i had more faith in their experience than my common sense.

  • 2-25-10 (17:05)

  • sven kramer got really screwed out of a gold medal the other day. his coach told him he was in the wrong lane so at the last minute he made an illegal lane change and it cost him the medal. this is the nature of sports sometimes. the line between greatness and infamy is incredibly thin. ask dwight clark or bill buckner or sven kramer's coach or a million other guys who were defined by a single moment. in this case it wasn't really kramer's fault, he trusted his coach to do his job and it was an epic mistake. pretty heartbreaking stuff when you've worked four years towards a goal and one moment smashes it.
  • curling has been exciting. we got into it in 2006 and picked it up again this time. this time around i know a lot more of the lingo and some of the strategy. there are still element that elude me from a strategy standpoint, though. i don't think that the americans are very good. shuster in particular seems to think he can do a lot more than he can actually do. with any sport there is the best move and there is the best move that you can actually execute. if i'm playing basketball and the defender is weak going to his left the best move might be to drive to his left and dunk the ball on his head. however, in reality that's not going to happen so the best practicable move might be to drive to his left and take a short jumper off the glass. the american team often has found itself in a position where a great shot would work wonders and they go for it only to find that they can't execute like the canadians or brits. throughout their play they were unable to throw the proper weight and the rocks weren't drawing well for them either. we need to assemble curling teams like we do with basketball - get the best guys together, let them train together for a while and then throw them into the olympics. it's a team sport and communication is important, but curling really doesn't require the same chemistry as many other team sports.
  • the canadians have a woman on the curling team who is 5 months pregnant. only other olympic sport that i could think of that you could reasonably compete without great loss of talent was archery. all the others are either too strenuous or too dangerous.

  • 2-22-10 (17:33)

  • back is pretty good today. once it got warmed up and the naproxen had a chance to do its thing that helped. will still try to take it easy the next couple days. other that that, though, i need to work more around the house so that i work the back at a low level more frequently so the harder days aren't such a shock.
  • it occurred to me that renting the jackhammer the other day was the first time we had rented a tool since we've been here. i've either purchased the tool or purchased it and then sold it or borrowed it from the lending library. so $67 in tool rentals after 14 months isn't too bad.
  • i've rated about 10% of the 34,000 songs i have. the goal is to have them all rated by the end of the year. hopefully doing that will generate enough 1-star songs that i'll be able to fit everything i want on the ipod. right now there are about 29500 songs on there so i've got to weed out quite a few.

  • 2-21-10 (22:09)

  • good hockey game between the us and canada today. we beat them in spite of getting less than half as many shots on goal. great goaltending by miller. great victory. i believe that's the first win we've had over them in like 50 years so that's a pretty huge win.
  • back kept me on the couch most of the afternoon and night. would have been nice to get some more work done this weekend. don't feel i've had a really productive weekend in a while.

  • 2-21-10 (12:33)

  • worked on some of the preliminary garage electrical this weekend. meryl was gone yesterday so i ran the cable to the exterior wall of the house under the crawl space. installed an LB which will connect to conduit on the inside and outside to carry the cable underground to the garage panel. today we rented a jackhammer and dug a trench from the house to the garage. we still need to dig a little bit of it out, but it's mostly done. have a fair amount of concrete that we'll have to dispose of as a result. most of the rest of the electrical will have to wait until the garage is done. i don't want to run electrical to a building that's not stable and finished structurally.
  • haven't been great about watching the olympics this time around. i'm usually glued to the tv at this time, but that's not how it's worked out so far.
  • had a couple break-ins in the neighborhood in the last couple weeks. can't say that i love oakland.
  • back is hurting after digging the trench and using the jackhammer. it's heavy lifting.

  • 2-19-10 (17:08)

  • may start work on the garage in 9 days. haven't signed contract yet, hope to do that early next week. had originally hoped to get it out of the way today and start monday, but contractor had another job waiting and it's happening next week so we got bumped since we weren't locked in yet.
  • plan on working on some of the early electrical this weekend. might also get some other under the house work done this weekend so long as it doesn't rain.
  • james cameron was on fresh air the other day and i found it to be a fairly annoying interview. it seemed more of a circle jerk than an interview which may be nice if you're in love with cameron and avatar. he talked about how avatar was special because it features a handicapped protagonist and that no one is talking about it. i talked about it in book of eli and hong kong films did that about a thousand times in the 70s. terry gross gushed over the film for the first 20 minutes of the interview, which was about all i wanted to listen to. i think cameron's early stuff is great and the guy had talent, but his recent stuff doesn't tell stories and build characters like his older stuff did. avatar is officially way overrated as is the entire idea of 3d, which i see my entire life and don't need on film.
  • terry gross is usually pretty good as an interviewer, though i'm not in love with her. charlie rose may be my favorite interviewer. michael krasny is good, but can be too pedantic at times and sometimes likes to show off within an interview. i like charlie rose's style more because he allows the interviewee to speak. he makes corrections in course and is genuinely interested in what they are saying, but he has no ego. his goal is to get them to talk as much and deeply as possible about what they are most known for, and i appreciate that.

  • 2-15-10 (10:15)

  • saturday i painted the closet and worked on the back part of the house. the rim joists on the addition  were really rotten so i braced a critical part under the garage and then took out all the rotten stuff. got new pt 2x8s and replaced the old with the new. put in one post per joist at anchor bolt locations so that the base wouldn't ever move. placing the posts this way meant that one of the posts wasn't nicely centered under the joist, but i'd rather have the post firmly secured to the sill plate than have it centered on the load. meryl helped install the hardware and one of the posts yesterday when she was around. now that she has her internship she's not around on saturdays.
  • we also planned out how we're going to use the animal room part of the addition. we plan on putting in a new, smaller window. installing a new door, closing off the water heater, restructuring the south wall, adding drywall, and then installing carpet. it'll be a little seating area/office space. i think it'll work out. we also plan on making the smaller bathroom into the bedroom bath with a larger casement style window which will fulfill our egress requirement for the bedroom. i think it's a good plan and it seems doable.

  • 2-11-10 (17:18)

  • quiz. nice little test about political news. i got 11/12 and the one i got was the one that was answered correctly by the most people. the question was about which country owns most of our debt and i immediately thought of china, but went with japan because i had heard recently about japan's own debt problems and the report ended by saying something about owning a lot of our debt so they weren't necessarily in such a bind. to be fair, japan holds 751.5 billion of our debt and china owns 798.9 billion. so i was very close, i just thought about it too much.
  • that quiz is interesting too because today i was in the office with two seniors at cal (best public university in the world) and one graduate of cal (my boss). i asked the three of them two questions because they were talking about john mayer: do you know who kim kardashian is? they all replied yes. then i asked them all if they knew who howard zinn was. they all replied no. it's not that everyone in the country should know of zinn, but it would be nice if one in three cal grads (or near grads) knew who one of the most important historians in u.s. history was. this should be especially true since he died in the last couple weeks so his profile would theoretically be elevated right now.
  • called feinstein and boxer today to talk about the consumer protection agency that elizabeth warren has proposed. feinstein's office was staffed and boxer's office was a voicemail box. i haven't called a congressperson in a long time and i should do that more often. warren inspired me to do it when she made an appearance on the daily show and i thought about not doing it because i figured feinstein and boxer would support it anyway, but then i figured i should call anyway. it took about 4 minutes to find their numbers and call both of them yet it's the first time in years that i've called or written. this is one of the problems with the country. i know better, i know how, and yet i don't do it more often. gotta work on that.
  • got one bid in for the garage foundation and it was like 14.5k which is crazy. obviously the guy didn't want to do the job otherwise he would have been more reasonable. waiting on one more guy to come by and another to submit his bid.

  • new dodge charger:

    new dodge challenger:

    new chevy camaro:

    new chevy corvette:

    new ford mustang:

    2-8-10 (16:42)

  • have been meaning to comment on american muscle cars, but haven't gotten around to it. dodge in particular has done a good job with their recent models. the new charger has been out a while and they more recently came out with the new challenger. both look really good and are a return to the 60s/early 70s style that american cars were known for. of course the vette has always been nice, but now the camaro and most recent mustang have returned to form as well. it's nice to see that they are getting back to what they did well back then. of course there is balance that they've learned as well with cars like the cobalt and focus which are geared towards the average person. the focus is the new escort and that was a very popular and successful car for ford. i like toyota, but i'm becoming a ford person. i've owned two of their vehicles and been generally happy with them. i also bought their stock when they were at $5 and now it's at 11 so that doesn't hurt either.

  • 2-7-10 (18:48)

  • found myself rooting for the saints most of the game and they won by the same number that i said they wouldn't win by. don't listen to me for sports predictions. it was nice to see manning rack up a bunch of yards, but only 1 td. then, down seven, he throws a pick six. then knocking on the door he throws another ball that should have been intercepted in the endzone. that said, he should have had another td if reggie wayne could have caught the perfectly thrown ball on the goal line. manning may be the best of this generation, but he's certainly not the best in the game's history. i'd rather have steve young and joe montana. in two superbowls manning has an unimpressive total of 2tds and 2ints in 80+ attempts. that's what you'd expect from trent dilfer or brad johnson, not peyton manning. the next few years will be interesting to see how the duel between brady and manning shakes out. when the pats were about to go 19-0 everyone talked about him as the best qb of all-time. he had the best season of all-time, but didn't do much in the superbowl so that discussion was put on the back burner. they're both good, but neither is joe montana.
  • got two themes from the ads during the sb. america is (still) great and being a guy is kind of a drag sometimes. the first one i understand because of the economic times. the second one was mostly manifested in ads that showed women nagging guys or dragging them along for shopping on game days or whatever. weird.

  • 2-7-10 (15:07)

  • the superbowl is starting soon. doesn't feel like a big game to me this time. i don't care about either team. i have reasons to root against each team, but only one reason to root for either. i had a $5 bet with my dad that the saints wouldn't win the sb. we made that bet before they beat the vikings (who i thought would win two weeks ago). on the other hand i'm not a huge fan of peyton manning or the colts. also don't like the saints so i don't really care. also not watching the game with anyone so it has diminished interest for that reason. think i'll just paint while the game is on.
  • had the colts by five last week when the line was -4. now i think it's at -5 so even if i'm wrong at least i'm on pace with the odds makers. i could see the colts winning by 14, but i don't see the saints winning by that many.
  • not sure what we're doing about the garage. we talked about it a while and neither of us like the fact that the cost has gone up so much, especially after the contractor made it seem like it wasn't a difficult project. however, i don't know how much less we can expect to pay for something as risky and involved as this is at this point. in a few months this will just be a fond memory, i think that's the best way of looking at it at this point.

  • 2-6-10 (15:46)

  • usc has moved up in the recruiting rankings by scouts and rivals which is surprising. they pulled in some guys who were borderline, which is even more surprising considering they lost carroll and ken norton jr. pac-10 recruited really well according to rivals. hiring kiffin quickly and getting staff sorted out turned out to be a good thing from a recruiting point of view. once sanctions issue is sorted out we'll see what the fallout is from that. most people don't know, but alabama won national championship this year despite having restrictions on their scholarships. so sanctions aren't the end of the world, but they can certainly hurt; and of course it's a matter of degree. losing bowl eligibility is death.
  • sarah came over today and helped clean out garage. few things left in there to take care of, but she helped me get the bulk of the stuff that i hadn't already taken care of. soon the garage will be fully ready for the overhaul. big lumber should arrive midweek at which point we'd be ready to go. still need to order rebar. also need to take out the workbench/drawer unit which is attached to the wall right now. hopefully i don't have to destroy it to get it out.
  • will probably paint the foyer area today. tomorrow will mostly be dedicated to watching the super bowl. probably get another coat on the foyer while i watch that.
  • just got the contractor's proposal. it was higher than i anticipated. he told me last night that he couldn't do it for our initial budget (5k) and i told him we were flexible, but this bid (8.5k) is beyond what i expected when i said "flexible." i was hoping for under 7k. eventually i talked him down to 7.5k if i took on some more work and bought some of the lumber for the shoring. this garage has gotten to be a much bigger project than anticipated. we were originally hoping we could bring it back to plumb for a few hundred bucks in materials and now we're looking at more like 10k. of course for that money we get a structure that will withstand an earthquake and has a new perimeter foundation, but that doesn't take much of the sting out of it. then again, all this is coming full circle because when i saw the garage for the first time my first thought was that it was going to cost $10k to get it right. that's like 5 months of earnings just to fix a garage. in the long run, though, the garage, as is, will scare off a lot of buyers and lower the price by 10-15k. don't think meryl is going to like this.

  • 2-5-10 (16:50)

  • told you we have to worry about those shark attacks. people in u.s. who have died from terrorism in 2010: 0. people in u.s. who have died from shark attacks in 2010: 1. the sharks are winning.
  • meryl gone this weekend. sarah coming tomorrow for a couple hours to help clean out the garage. hopefully we can get it ready for the work that needs to be done in there. supposed to meet with contractor john in 10 minutes to come up with plan and sign papers.

  • 2-3-10 (16:20)

  • i think much of the gridlock in congress is because it's congress and because the republicans are stubborn and the dems are inept. however, it also occurred to me that it's partially obama's inexperience. he's never been an executive like george bush was (gov. of texas). he cut his teeth in congress. so you'd think he'd know more about navigating congress, but i think he didn't know enough about how to execute a vision like healthcare. he admitted his mistakes in a recent interview, but i think this may be part of the reason that we don't vote congressmen into the presidency very often.
  • ordered the big beam and mudsills for the garage project today. also got a bunch of hardware that we'll need for tying all the various beams and headers and chords together. still much more to buy because home depot didn't have everything in stock.
  • meryl's been getting more actual work done on the house lately. she's been sewing the curtains for the various windows around the house. when she's done we'll have new curtains on almost all the windows in the house.

  • 2-2-10 (17:27)

  • there's a torn bumper sticker that i see on my way to work all the time that reads "you ow god." i assume it once read "be your own god." but the way it is torn makes it look as though it says "you owe god." whoever tore it either did so in a very smart manner or got really lucky because the tear totally flipped the original meaning on its head.
  • worked on getting a quote for the steel plates from the engineer's drawings today. part of the truss repair requires 18 steel plates be made to tie the web system together. we'll see how much they want for this. one guy quoted $300 which seems fairly reasonable. i'm hoping the other guy will be cheaper because he's closer.

  • 2-1-10 (22:07)

  • got the engineer's drawings today. going to pore over them tomorrow. need to make a sequence list as well as a materials list. this is a big project relative to everything else we've done so far. hoping the structure will take 3 weeks once we break ground.

  • got my truck serviced today. it had a recall notice on it so i got that taken care of.

    1-31-10 (15:38)

  • talked with the contractor today about the garage. until we get the engineer's work (should be done tomorrow) i can't really do a heck of a lot of planning, but we talked broadly about numbers and what he'd do vs. what i'd do. i'm hoping that we'll get the specs from the engineer and have this week to get some of the materials we need to get started. it'll give us time to clean out the garage and get everything ready for them. the custom metal pieces and larger beams will probably take a while to get, though i've never purchased a 20' long 6x10 beam so i don't know what it'll take to get that. plus it'll have to be delivered and all that so starting in two weeks seems more reasonable than starting next week.

  • 1-30-10 (12:38)

  • i think it's more important to be intellectually curious than it is to be smart. it's more important to be thoughtful than knowledgeable. more important to be a hard-worker than well off. it's better to be critical than cynical.

  • 1-29-10 (17:08)

  • going to pfa to see a capra film on the big screen. hopefully we can see two for the price of one, but i'm not sure what the policy is there on that. haven't seen much early capra so it'll be nice to see some american madness-era flicks. they both star stanwyck who i like.
  • updated the top ten of the 00s. luke decided he wanted to do it as well. didn't think he was the list-making type, but there it is.
  • engineer will be done with drawings, etc. on monday. spoke with the contractor today and we're going to come up with a game plan on sunday. we'll see what he'll do and while we can do and how much all this will cost.

  • 1-28-10 (17:49)

  • i'm not that old and not extremely aware of how things have been in the past, but it does seem as though it's a new age that we live in from a political perspective. brown winning in ma and upsetting the dems' supermajority and the expected fallout as a result is as good an example of this as anything else. the dems seemingly need to be filibuster-proof in order to get anything done. it's a testament to the pathetic political culture we find ourselves in today.
  • the daily show recently had a piece on keith olbermann which pointed out that he's become just another ideological name caller. the point is that even a lot of the good guys are only good because they're on our side, but really they're doing as much to elevate the discourse as the mark levins and sean hannitys of the world. so tonight we had obama's state of the union speech. it was the best state of the union speech i've ever heard, but like i said, i haven't been around all that long. if you're not a stick in the mud ideologue like half the country (on both sides) seems to be at this point, then you were probably moved by something in the speech. it was capra-esque, and though it could easily be chalked up to more talk (probably the things politicians are best at), i think the ideas he put forth and the things he asked for show that he's genuine about wanting to move forward in a meaningful way. he (rightly) scolded both sides for bickering and not being team players. as good as he was at being reasonable and appealing to our sense of pride (he invoked americanism to hopefully get us all on the same page), i don't foresee it doing much. ultimately it comes down to the fact that we get the government we choose and we're too stupid and apathetic to vote out the ideologues and vote in new thinkers and reasonable people. i've come to the conclusion that he probably wants to do more, but he's more willing than i would like to compromise than i would like.
  • i liked that he talked about the awful supreme court decision that came down in the last week. it hasn't gotten as much talk as it deserves and i'm glad he addressed it. alito, the little bitch that he is, was shaking his head after obama mentioned it. hate that asshole. he was funny, too.
  • elizabeth warren is fucking awesome. i trust her more than any other single person in power in washington. she's smart, she's on the right side of the issues and she's the kind of person you would love to work for if you were someone with half a brain and motivation to actually make good change in the country. she's a great american.
  • pbs and npr have long been my favorite news outlets, but when it comes to tv coverage i think cnn is the best of the cable or major networks. they have a lot of staff doing fact-checking, compiling date, and giving "expert" opinions from a variety of viewpoints. they get silly with the technology sometimes and they're a step below pbs, but i think they're better than fox, msnbc, and the networks.
  • justin finally submitted his top ten of the 00s. john was the only one who didn't participate. loser. now i'm thinking about my top tens of the 90s which would likely be a good deal tougher since that's when i grew up.
  • updated pics.

  • 1-27-10 (16:35)

  • just found out that howard zinn died. that's a real loss, unlike, say, the loss of a freak like michael jackson. a great mind.
  • at about 4am this morning i heard a big bang or thud that woke me up. i assumed that something in the "animal room" fell. meryl woke me up later to tell me that it was the shower door which had shattered. not sure how it happened, but that part of the house doesn't have much structure so it might be sinking just enough that it tweaked the shower door until it broke. so i ran out today and got a piece of sheet vinyl to screw onto the frame. will do that in a minute.
  • i give obama a b or b- for his first year. i didn't expect him to be as good as those who voted for him (which is partly why i didn't vote for him) so i wasn't as disappointed when he didn't get it all done.
  • went to the doctor today for my allergy test. they do a blood test instead of a skin one. i don't think that the blood test is as good, but i don't really know. we'll see how that turns out.
  • some guy did a study and published it in nature magazine about the benefits of barefoot running. he discovered that it's actually about how your foot lands, more than the fact that you aren't wearing shoes. when you have shoes you're more likely to land heel first. if you don't wear shoes you're more likely to land on the front of your foot. i've known about this for 15 years when my track/cross-country coach showed me that i should land on the front, outside part of my foot. it's more efficient and transfers less impact into your knees and leg bones. really all you need to do is look at the best runners in the world and pay attention for about 10 seconds to know this. i can't recall having ever seen an expert runner land heel first. everyone from sprinters like bolt and johnson to long distance runners like gebrselassie and komen lands on the ball of their feet first. this gets filed in the "duh" category if you ask me.
  • oink founder was recently found not guilty. wish that site was back.
  • off to listen to obama now.

  • 1-24-10 (19:29)

  • this weekend was somewhat of a waste. cleaned a bit around the house with sarah. that kicked up a bunch of dust and now my allergies are going crazy. that sucks. sarah brought her computer over because it's having issues. she has a virus so i'm trying to fix that, but it's not working so far. haven't done a full format in many years so i'm reluctant to resort to that. we'll see.
  • went over the hill to work on meryl's dad's place which is being rented out and the gutters were sagging. couldn't find gutter clips that would fit at any of the hardware stores so we cleaned them out and secured the clips that were existing. still need to find extra clips and attach those in a couple spots.
  • watched the football games and neither turned out how i wanted. the vikings were clearly the better team and probably would have won 6-7 times out of ten, but they had a bunch of turnovers that lost the game for them. favre's interception at the end of regulation was pathetic. while he was rolling out i was thinking he should just run and slide and go for the field goal, but he threw it across his body and that was the end of regulation. a bad way to end a pretty good career and a great season.
  • so, basically nothing got done on our house and my allergies are annoying me so this weekend was mostly a failure. hopefully we can get started on the garage next weekend. we'll see.
  • allergy medicines are about as good as itunes.

  • 1-22-10 (18:35)

  • back feels a lot better today. spent most of yesterday in bed watching movies and reading so the rest really did some good. getting paid to rest is also a nice benefit of a "real job."
  • it's 49 degrees in the house now. less than 55 and you feel the bite of the cold. what makes it worse is that humidity is always around 80% which is ridiculously high, even during the rainy season. dehumidifiers are silly expensive. i've taped off the three floor vents in the house. next i have to seal the two holes in the floor - one in the bathroom and one in the laundry room. i'll work on that tomorrow when my sister is coming to help work on the house. hopefully closing the house off from the humidity of the crawl space will bring the temp up and humidity down.
  • engineer came out today to take some measurements on the garage. hope to have a good game plan by the end of next week. in the meantime we're working on loose ends like the foyer area. next loose end might be the laundry floor, but there's a decent amount of work there and we want to hit the ground running so we don't have to worry about taking the laundry elsewhere.
  • we also seem to have a fly problem. not sure where they're all coming from, but quite a few houseflies have been in the house lately. i kill or capture (in the vacuum cleaner) them all, but there are always more. i'd say we've offed about 30 in the last week.

  • 1-21-10 (12:59)

  • yesterday was a pretty lame day. it rained all night the previous night and in the morning there was a leak at the side door that we installed. in looking at the door sweep i found it doesn't do much to stop driving rain and the threshold is pitched slightly inside. so i bought a new door sweep and hopefully that will fix the problem. also cut a drip kerf in the head jamb which will break the surface tension of the water. one of the problems is that the water was coming down the stucco, onto the head jamb and rolling in towards the door and then falling right at the base of the door. by cutting a kerf at the front the water won't roll in towards the door more than 1/4" before it falls. the dremel multitool was excellent in this application. there's literally no other tool i could have used to get the same results in this situation. usually this is used on window sills and is cut on the tablesaw before installation. we got the door pre-hung so i couldn't have done it on the tablesaw even if i thought about it at the time. having the right tools and knowing what their potential is is half the job.
  • the rain also has led to quite a buildup of water in the crawlspace. we have major drainage issues all around the house that we'll have to address in the spring/summer. we rigged up meryl's old fountain pump to a gfci and extension cord so it's slowly pumping out water from under the house. it works and it was free because we already had the required materials so it'll do for now.
  • meryl got some joint compound on the walls in the foyer area so that's almost looking finished. one or two more coats and then it'll be ready from priming and painting. then i need to install a strip or two of flooring and some trim at the base.
  • went to home depot and while we were leaving it was starting to rain and some lady couldn't get her newly purchased toilet into her car. so i picked it up and wiggled it into the car and thought nothing more of it until about a hour later when my back started to hurt. now i'm at home instead of at work because my lower back isn't feeling very good. it's not the worst it's ever been, but i can't put on socks and tie shoes without it hurting so i figured resting was a good idea. thankfully i have sick time now so it won't cost me anything. hadn't thrown out my back the last two years so that's an okay streak. just have to be more careful. updated the health page.
  • we also got some work done in the attic. still have a lot to clean up, but got the middle section of the attic pretty clean including the storage area so that's good.
  • had an engineer and contractor out yesterday to look at the garage. came up with a good gameplan for righting the ship and making sure it won't move in the future. when it's done i'm confident it'll be the strongest thing on the property. that's good news, but also a sad commentary on the structure of the houses built at this time. honestly i'm not certain how this house stood up to loma prieta. the stucco is probably the biggest thing keeping it together from shear strength perspective.

  • 1-19-10 (17:24)

  • raining a lot lately.
  • now that we have access to the side of our house since we built the fence, we can see how bad the drainage is on that end. it's pretty bad so we'll have to tackle that down the line as well. probably will take a weekend. probably will do it in spring or summer.
  • tomorrow we have an engineer and contractor coming out to take a look at the garage and give some ideas of how to approach this project. i hope to work with the contractor to get the garage up and properly structured at a reasonable cost.
  • what's with the controversy with harry reid? the guy told the truth and, if anything, insulted the american people. he didn't say anything bad about obama. worst thing i can find in the quote is that he said "negro" instead of black or whatever else is in vogue these days. guess we should get angry with the uncf (united negro college fund) too; insensitive bastards.
  • have i mentioned that itunes is probably the worst program in the history of programs?

  • 1-18-10 (15:06)

  • got the new letters up on the wall at work. since we changed our company name i had to take down the old lettering and put up the new stuff. getting the old adhesive off was a bitch. then i had to repair the wall, paint it and put up the new stuff. probably took me like 7 hours total which is why the sign place wanted to charge almost $400 for the job. thankfully it was a three day weekend so not too much time was lost.
  • we've been working on the front door area lately since work on the garage has hit a stand still. no quote yet from the second guy and the first guy was good, but he wanted to bring in an engineer and all that. i felt more confident in his abilities, but i think the other guy would be cheaper and the other guy wanted to do an entire perimeter foundation and i think that would be preferable. we'll see what number he comes up with.
  • we're hoping to get curtains up this week. we'll see how that goes.

  • 1-12-10 (18:16)

  • the usc situation is interesting. first, i didn't like the idea of jack del rio, i generally don't think much of nfl coaches coming to college or vice versa; yes i'm aware of carroll's nfl history, he was the exception. i like lane kiffin a little more than del rio, but am worried about brining him in since he's had ncaa problems in the past and obviously usc is suffering a bit in that area right now. second, i think the ncaa is a corrupted and awful organization that cares very little about the student athletes. they should be doing more to protect the kids through education and selective opportunity. what you have now is the equivalent of a fundamentalist parent saying no sex, no drugs, no caffeine, no staying out past 9pm, etc. it's backwards and only serves the media contracts and the upper level schools, including usc in football and unc in basketball. one of the facts that we need to relate to these kids is that less than 3% of them are going to sniff the nfl so they should think about other things. we should talk to them about the leeches out there preying on guys like chris webber or reggie bush or fill in the blank.
  • we'll see how everything shakes out. usc probably has a while to go before they're back in the rose bowl hunt. we had 3 5-star recruits (most in the nation) this upcoming year and i wonder how many of them will stick around in spite of carroll being gone and the possibility of draconian sanctions from the ncaa. hopefully kiffin brings his dad and ed orgeron with him. if so, that would be dynamite and we'd be right back in the thick of things. carroll probably took his son with him as well as ken norton jr. which means that the three best recruiters that we have would be gone. kiffin and orgeron are as good as the last two, but pete is impossible to replace.

  • 1-10-10 (22:20)

  • this weekend was more or less a waste. we worked on the structure for the garage all day yesterday and a couple hours today and only moved it about an inch. we went through all this trouble to build two walls perpendicular to the ridge and jacked those up in order to relieve pressure on the south wall which is so badly out of plumb. then we used two come-alongs to pull the wall into plumb, but it didn't move much. pretty disappointing. not sure why it isn't moving more, but it creaks a lot so i'm wary of moving it anymore. we're essentially doing what the engineer told us (though he said there should be a 4x4 on the exterior of the wall and we're using a 2x8 on the interior because we don't have access to the exterior since it's on our neighbor's property). i'm basically out of ideas at this point. we're going to get some estimates on the cost to get the garage in a reasonably upright position so it's not so unsafe and unsightly that it scares buyers away. one option is to rebuild the south and west walls one at a time. we could probably do this ourselves. if we were to do that i'd want to redo the foundation underneath the walls at the same time. a professional crew could redo the whole thing in a week or two, but i have no idea how much they would charge for something like that. this is a pain. i would like to have a usable garage with a door that functions properly and some light and outlets and minus the san andreas fault that is in the middle of the slab currently.
  • next saturday i have to work at the alumni house so that'll another wasted day. this is getting old.

  • 1-8-10 (18:44)

  • jon and monique came by today to check out the progress, good to see them.
  • hope to get the structure for the garage done tomorrow. once that is done we can begin work on the electrical and roofing for the garage.

  • 1-7-10 (16:47)

  • re: the xmas day bomber...it just shows how rampant the incompetence is in this country and the world. the dutch fucked up, the uk didn't share critical info, and we fucked up too. it defies common sense and i think this was a more catchable breach than the 9/11 success which was carried out better and had less strong evidence and came as a bigger surprise. fool me once...
  • i'm not blaming it on obama or napolitano, but they probably get the brunt of it politically. if we can't catch this guy who has been ratted out by his dad and bought a one way ticket and was on the watch list and didn't check any baggage...then we're probably doomed. that said, a few hundred deaths a year to terror isn't that big a deal in the rational sense which is why i don't concern myself with it personally. however, it's a big deal to everyone else and it steals time and money from more important duties which makes it, like the wars in iraq/afghanistan, a big deal. look at it this way: let's say obama works 12 hours a day for four years, that's 4404 hours (including leap year) that he has for his first term. 1,000 of those hours are probably going to be spent campaigning for dems or himself. now he's down to about 3400 hours to address as many of the country's problems as possible. not much if you ask me. when this kind of shit happens it's not just political, it's much bigger because dumb ass people (80% of the world population) get scared by statistically small things like this. so now a couple hundred more hours are going to be spent on terrorism and security on planes because of this guy with a bomb in his underwear. not sure if you know this already, but the terrorists totally won. i'm talking they're the niners and we're the broncos in the 1990 super bowl. not a close game, they won and they continue to win because we're too stupid to stop them and too stupid to know that this stuff should matter about as much as shark attacks in the pacific ocean or drowning in your pool. maybe we should make it mandatory to learn how to swim or something. ridiculous.
  • i actually feel sorry for the guy. npr talked to someone who read his posts on various internet forums and it sounds like he was struggling to do well in school and had problems with the SAT and wanted to go to an ivy league and he's the youngest of 16 kids and all that. it's a sad story, really. he fell through the cracks and the assholes gave him some false hope, happens all the time. i remember being in the dorm, on my own for the first time, and there were some guys from some christian fellowship who would hang around a lot. it's the same thing, really. take advantage of kids in a vulnerable situation and try to flip them. fuckers. thankfully i didn't fall for it, though i did give them a chance and found what they were selling was a pile of shit.
  • guess i'll watch the bcs game tonight. hate both teams and think alabama will win, but so does everyone else. texas is overrated, but i wouldn't put it past mack brown to come up with a win. he's a pretty good coach and when you have 4 weeks to prep for a team coaching is more important. this, incidentally, is why i think osu beat oregon. they had like 5 weeks to prep for a deception-based offense. osu probably knew every possible option just as well as jeremiah masoli did. 24-21, alabama.

  • 1-5-10 (20:41)

  • 13th year of writing on this page. wonder how many of us have been doing it that long on a consistent basis.
  • worked a lot on the end of the year type page updates. finished the film stats and best of 2000s lists, among other things. got the all of 2009 page up and running. those are nice when i'm looking for something i did and i know the year, but can't remember the month.
  • updated all the pictures for the house, included captions for context.
  • looked over the last year a bit. obviously the big story for me was the house. sometimes i look back and think we didn't get much done and then i'll look back and remember all the little things, that are easily forgotten, that go into projects like replacing two decks, installing three doors and three windows and painting and texturing and plumbing and wiring and cleaning and living normal lives and watching sports from time to time and working more hours and going on a (short) vacation.
  • happy with all that i learned this year. hope to not make the same mistakes i've made in the past.
  • put a coat of oil-based paint on the shelves in the pantry. guessing we'll load that up with food soon.
  • next big project is the garage. gotta get it plumb-ish, gotta re-roof it and gotta get some power to it. have a couple details to iron out on the electrical front. know a guy to hire to help with the roof and hoping that our current plan for getting it upright works out.
  • went to the doctor today. splinter in hand is puffy and red. when i squeeze it, it oozes a bit so i figured it was infected and needed attention. i'm almost certain that the splinter is still in there since i heard it break when i was pulling it out a few days ago. so the doctor looked at it a bit and said it'll either fix itself or get worse and i should come back. he can't see it and neither can i so nothing can be done, according to him. so i get health insurance and already i'm wasting doctors' time. did make it worthwhile though by getting the seasonal flu shot. also got my blood workup back (because i was at the doctor last week to get a check up for the first time in 5 years). turns out that my cholesterol and blood sugar levels are perfect and i don't ever need to see a doctor again. my body does right by me for the most part. not in love with the allergies that i get during the spring, but it's a solid machine other than that. thanks body for being good to me. i will continue to eat red meat on rare occasions, have an active job, not drink, smoke, or do drugs, live with as little stress as i can considering the house situation, and get plenty of rest.
  • meryl's art room is essentially done. she still wants to move her desk in there, but that's easy enough. i'm pretty happy with the shelving unit i built and meryl designed. it looks a little small in the picture, but it's about 8 feet square and holds her tv and almost all of her art supplies. very handy and it looks pretty nice. she's wired up for the satellite and network tv and ethernet and phone and has plenty of power throughout the room. it's got four can lights and a ceiling fan with its own light as well. i also built the legs for the table i'm sitting at. she wanted a countertop height table for her barstool chair and for working while standing.


  • art room not so long ago:

    1-1-10 (23:02)

  • gotten a lot done in the last couple days. built meryl's custom shelves for her art room. thanks to the fact that i got the sprayer back from the shop i was able to paint them all in a reasonable amount of time as well. sprayer makes the job so much quicker and it looks better too. also sprayed the kitchen pantry so i just need to cut and install the shelves.
  • still need to finish up some painting at the alumni house. may do that sunday. we'll see.
  • been busy compiling a list of best songs, albums, and films of the decade. got some friends to make their lists and putting that on a page along with my picks. a couple people are lagging so i'm waiting for their responses before i post the page.
  • also need to do all the year-end stuff like making new movies pages and all that jazz. end of the year is always a busy time for the webpage.

  • in the meantime i updated the 2009 top ten list which includes my ten best of the year as well as the picks from meryl and me for best actor/actress and all that stuff.