12/31/11 (10:40)

  • working on a few different projects right now. pouring a new foundation wall on the addition. right now there is a pier there, but the engineer who did the initial home inspection recommended we pour a new foundation there so we're finally getting around to that. need a rebar bender, though, so not much progress will be made on that until at least next week when i can borrow one from the lending library.
  • also still working on the front room. tile around, and in front of, the fireplace. first we need to chip away the old concrete surround though. also need to insulate in the attic space above the room.
  • we went to a recycling place yesterday and found a bunch of lumber that we will use for a dining table that i'll build and put in the front room. meryl designed it and it'll have a piece of glass inset with a bunch of old sports tickets from games we've gone to over the years under it. it's going to be an unpainted piece so the tolerances are less and i don't have a lot of furniture building experience so it should be interesting to see how it turns out.
  • bowl games are starting to heat up. washington gave baylor a run for their money the other day, but lost. two pac-12 games so far and two losses. utterly predictable of course because both teams were underdogs. unranked teams vs. #7 and #13. ucla vs. illinois tonight. i actually think ucla has a decent shot.
  • i'm in the third season of breaking bad now. it's getting depressing now because i'm not sure i have anyone to root for anymore.
  • been watching a lot of movies lately to try to get to 100 movies in the theater. we could watch two tonight to get to the goal, unsure if that will happen.

  • 12/25/11 (10:51)

  • been watching breaking bad lately on netflix. started from the beginning and i'm almost done with season 2. it's a good series. i much prefer watching drama series like this, sopranos, west wing, etc. after everything is available on dvd/elsewhere. having to wait a week between shows is b.s. and the water cooler discussion with others is non-existent in my life so i don't worry about being behind. also, since i have a shit memory, hearing all the spoilers on fresh air or from other sources, doesn't make a difference because my memory is wiped clean every few months. i know, for example, that i've heard spoilers from lost, dexter, breaking bad and other popular tv series, but i can't remember them at all so i could watch them now and not have the ends spoiled.
  • merry christmas.
  • went on a run this morning which is good because meryl puts the kibosh on working on xmas. i'm pretty sure it's the one day a year that i do absolutely no work. this year, though, i did injure my foot so there were probably a couple days right after that that i didn't do any work. although i did get up and paint the front window for a few seconds because that was exciting.
  • yesterday we worked on the big front room most of the day. the cut-ins are plentiful so making headway is a laborious task. most of the ceiling is done. there are three bays that are broken up by the exposed beams and two of them are awaiting their second coat. i also installed one of the four recessed lights yesterday. it's an led retrofit kit that can fit into a recessed can of 5 or 6" or a 4" junction box. we went with the 4" junction box and it worked out well. looks pretty nice and uses a very minimal amount of power since it's led. at the last minute we decided that it would be nice to have another light by the door that goes into what is now my office. so, tomorrow we'll probably get that done.
  • yesterday i also finally installed a light with switch under the crawl space. it's required by code since we have a serviceable unit down there, in our case it's the furnace. i also installed a gfci outlet for the same purpose.
  • i also finished repairing my basketball hoop yesterday which initially broke when i installed the bolts too tightly, but it had held up pretty well until more recently when the bolts started to slip. so i got 3/8 carriage bolts and those held for a couple days until the backboard (made of plastic with little to no reinforcement sandwiched inside) cracked even more. finally i took meryl's dad's old lintel from the fireplace we demolished, cut it down to size, primed it, painted it, and drilled a couple holes in it for the bolts. i put that up on the bottom of the backboard and now the rim is as stiff as it's ever been.
  • so my goal was to get under 170 lbs, i set that goal in late march. first i had to stop gaining weight and then i needed to lose it. i think my high was about 177 or 178lbs and i had basically averaged 3lbs of weight gain a year since my freshman year of college. i think that the first year of being in this house was bad because we didn't have a kitchen for 6 months and it was a stressful time. both of those things lead to weight gain. as of this morning i weighed under 169lbs. so, mission accomplished. my goal for next year, and hopefully for the rest of my life, is to be at about 165 because that seems reasonable for my frame.
  • finished watching all the disney movies a couple days ago. so, 51 feature length, theatrical, animated films from disney. 2 of them i watched prior to this year, but the rest i either rewatched or watched for the first time this year. it was another goal that i started in march. my recap, awards and ranking of them can be found here.

  • 12/23/11 (10:09)

  • boise state took care of business last night. the last two years they've had the opportunity to make the ncaa give them a shot at the championship and they've lost easy games. they cleaned the floor with asu last night, but it didn't prove anything we didn't already know. it was a pick by the ncaa to sell tickets, not get a great matchup.
  • good article on the bcs system and the money that ruins everything.
  • ron paul is getting attacked from the right now. some charges about him writing some racist stuff in the 80s. personally i don't know whether i buy it or not, but it's not surprising that the right and the mainstream media are doing this. they go after sensational topics like race and sex and see what they can get out of it. the right doesn't like him because he's a consistent conservative instead of a hawk who doesn't want to run people's personal lives or the lives of non-americans. he's not the right guy to lead the country, but the way they attack him is just comical. just come out and say that freedom and states' rights are nice things, but that they ought to have certain limits and that paul goes too far. that's a more compelling argument than trumping up charges or highlighting his republican party exit letter or whatever. once again the whole process is broken from top to bottom.

  • 12/21/11 (20:27)

  • don't care about the bowl games so far. first one that means anything to me is tomorrow and it's asu vs. boise state.
  • supposed to have jury duty tomorrow. called and they said to call back by noon tomorrow. blah. i hate that. what would be even worse is if they made me come in during my time off of work next week. that would be great.

  • 12/19/11 (10:46)

  • john and emily came over yesterday to visit and see the house for the first time in about a year.
  • been mostly working on the front room these days. it's basically ready for paint at this point, but that is going to take a long time because there are a lot of cut-ins to do.
  • newt is looking like the front-runner right now for the gop, but i'm still not certain he'll pull it off. there are a lot of top republicans who don't like him so it may be a case where his burning bridges in the past bites him in the ass now.
  • our tivo box has been having trouble lately so i've been recording all the stuff that was on there for a long time. i have the last three games that usa women's soccer team played this year. that brazil game was epic and that japan game was a let down.
  • pretty soon i'll get to work on the best movies of the year. i hardly ever listen to new albums these days so that will continue to be a "best songs" only category for the foreseeable future.
  • don't think i'll make it to under 170lbs which was my weight loss goal. i'm close, but not under. i lost about a pound a month since making the goal which is a nice steady and healthy amount. it also reverses the tide of gaining 3 lbs a year, so that's good.
  • christmas doesn't feel like it this year.
  • got today off as a "shopping day" which is nice.
  • got a summons for jury duty again. potentially have to report on thursday, hopefully they don't need me.
  • the occupy movement has resorted to somewhat pathetic tactics at this point. blocking ports just annoys people and while it may affect the 1% in some way, i think it hurts the little guy more. it's just a poor tactic and i hope they come up with something else. it would be nice to know where the idea originally came from since it's supposed to be a leaderless movement. did they vote on it? pretty harebrained if you ask me.

  • 12/08/11 (19:49)

  • updated the pictures page.

  • looking forward to having some time off coming up.

    11/29/11 (17:43)

  • work has been busy lately because the new boss has moved a bunch of crap in and out of his office which has caused a chain of events that makes a lot more work for me. job security i guess.
  • tomorrow i hope to finish off the electrical rough-in and get some vegetables, etc. planted in the planter in the backyard. had been meaning to tackle that for sometime, but hadn't gotten around to it. looks like we'll get it done tomorrow finally so that'll be nice to check off the list. our front yard plans will be on hold until next summer when maybe we'll tackle it. this stuff never ends. keeps me out of trouble i guess.
  • along with having the best olive oil i've ever tried while in ohio, we also had what i consider the best bottled salsa i've ever had. cajohns makes hot sauce primarily, but they also make salsa. we tried the raspberry salsa and took some home. unique. the sweetness can overwhelm, but it's really good in small doses.
  • our maytag refrigerator is about a year and a half old and it leaks when it goes through a defrost cycle. it drips the water into a little plastic pan which has evidently developed a couple cracks. apparently these pans used to be made of aluminum (which neither cracks nor rusts), but i guess that cost an extra $.42 or whatever so maytag opted to change the design. fuckers. this is classic capitalist american bullshit. we weren't always like this. we used to make quality stuff. my grandma still has a vacuum cleaner that's like a million years old and works fine. the shit they make these days all comes from the same shit hole factory in china or india or whatever colony we're exploiting at the moment, while some myopic college grad eeks out every last penny by engineering the latest shit product. we ship the jobs and money overseas for the privilege of buying a frig at a 15% discount to us, a 25% increase in profit for them, and the chance to do it all over again when it takes a dump after a paltry 10 year lifespan. it's a beautiful fucking system.
  • according to a story i read, the cutoff for the top 1% is earning 506k/year. i'm part of the lower 47% according to their calculator. during my worst two income years (2005, 2006) i was part of the bottom 3%.
  • our middle class erodes more and more every day. the discount retailers survive as does tiffany's, but the places in the middle and the people they used to cater to are suffering. this isn't news if you've paid attention, but it's worse now than it was 15 years ago when i first became aware of it, and this juvenile band of hippies is the best hope we seem to be able to muster. ok, they're not all juvenile or hippies, but what's the point of just camping out on public property all day and all night? it'd be a better pr move if they went home for the night and returned each morning, thus making it a legal protest instead of burning man 2.0. i dunno, just a thought.
  • i can't help but feel that this country is done for.

  • 11/28/11 (17:36)

  • the long weekend was a nice reprieve.
  • lots of football which was nice. usc killed ucla. they didn't pour it on at all in the 4th quarter so it was about as classy as a 50-0 win can get. a couple reasons why i think it was a big win in a meaningless season for the trojans: winning big at the end against their rival further elevated their profile after the oregon victory, it elevated barkley again to the point where he is finally getting some heisman consideration. go ahead and compare his numbers to luck's - barkley's are better in yards, touchdowns and interceptions. luck is better by two points in completion percentage. luck is a better general on the field and doesn't have the same level of receiver. barkley doesn't have as good an offensive line and doesn't have the best tight ends in the country (according to standford's own supporters). strength of schedule is nearly identical so there's no argument there. one loss separates the two teams. the heisman is a popularity contest. anyway, back to the win over ucla. it also sets the bar for oregon to win the dubious distinction of being the best pac-12 team. if oregon doesn't win by 50 points or more then they're once again upstaged by usc. it's going to be great for recruiting. i'm not in love with kiffin, but one thing he does well is get attention and a lot of football players like that. usc will be back in the hunt next year, the spotlight will be shining again because they can go to a bowl, they'll possibly have a heisman candidate among them once again, and they'll have something to hang their hat on after a couple poor seasons.
  • the nfl was shown on thursday how to beat the niners. lots of stunts and blitzing confused the offensive line and brought alex smith out of his comfort zone. should be interesting to see, at this late stage, how the niners will fare. they have a lot of work to do to get their coverages under control or else other teams are going to exploit the weakness and we'll be out in the first round of the playoffs.
  • the lsu arkansas game wasn't much. not at all excited about the lsu/alabama rematch. it's a down year for college football in my opinion. lsu is clearly the best in the country from what i've seen and they have a suspect offense.
  • cain is accused of another affair. pretty clear that he's a goner anyway at this point. after perry's debate when he forgot the third branch of govt. that he wanted to elminate i turned to meryl and said that gingrich was going to get a bump and he did indeed. perry and cain go down and gingrich goes up. the republicans aren't thrilled with any of them. paul has his 10-15% of crazies who will support him no matter what. gingrich has respect from the old guard. romney is the guy that they'll embrace if they have to. cain was in there because he was funny and black. perry was in there because they like the idea of perry, but even they know he's a fucking idiot.
  • worked a lot on the electrical this weekend. got the outlets and lighting wires run to the big living room as well as to a few other outlets. there are literally only 4-5 more outlets that i'll have to run wire to and then we'll have rewired the entire house. actually the previous owners wired the bedroom, but everything else has been done by us.
  • we also worked on paint prep and meryl did some painting. there's a lot of prep to be done in the big room and, in order to get the texture right, i think we may have to retexture the whole room.
  • we also put down a sealer coat on the pavers so that project is 100% complete, no more add-ons. cleaned it on friday and applied the sealer on sunday. i think it looks good, though i wish we had done it sooner. there are a couple spots that pool, but i think that's from two things: not vibrating it all down soon enough after laying them and the monsoon that came through and washed away stuff that we had already done. there's a line where the pre-monsoon area meets the post-monsoon area and it's obvious to me, but i don't think most people would notice it. for it being our first paver project and for it being almost 1000 square feet with multiple elevations to hit (landing by side deck, sidewalk, back lawn, front lawn, garage) and a curved driveway, and all the rest... i think we did a good job.

  • 11/22/11 (19:43)

  • saul perlmutter won the nobel prize for physics recently. he teaches at uc berkeley and organized a surprised party for his wife at the alumni house several months ago. i had the "pleasure" of helping him with this. the guy is obviously a genius, but not when it comes to party planning. he was fairly high maintenance, but honestly it didn't bother me much, i've had to deal with worse. i was just very matter of fact with him, especially once i found out he was from the lawrence berkeley national lab which houses all sorts of eccentric geniuses who lack genius elsewhere as a result. they're like brilliant musicians who can't pay the bills because they're always drunk, but without the charm or whatever. genius is a funny thing.
  • finished my dad's movies list. he has been keeping a list of all the movies he's seen in the theater since 1993 and here it is. it was originally in a calender book so i transcribed it over the course of the last seveal months. yes, 410 movies in 2010 all in the theater is correct. don't ask.
  • in case you haven't been paying attention some shit has been hitting the fan at uc schools lately. ucb had the excessive force incident a couple weeks ago. and more recently uc davis had the pepper spray incident.
  • katehi didn't authorize the use of pepper spray so i don't think she should have to step down. could she have prevented this? yes. i think having her there, but walking on eggshells is actually a better outcome than having her exiled for something that wasn't a result of her action, though it was a result of her inaction.
  • to me this falls on the shoulders primarily of the cop involved. he should be fired. next level up should be whatever ranking cop was on duty who may have authorized the action, he/she should be gone. next level up is the ucd police chief, she should be gone.
  • the thing that makes this really bad is that not only was it completely uncalled for, but it had just happened an hour away at ucb. after that incident one would think that the chief would huddle her team and go over the protocol should something similar arise on her campus. it's gross negligence or stupidity or not acting in a professional manner or all of the above. either way, she has to go. really disappointing stuff overall.
  • the trip to columbus was fun. in case i haven't spelled it out already, the idea is that each year meryl and i will go to one "rivalry game" in college football. they can be big or small and the order will be more on interest and availability. so, last year we saw sac state at uc davis. this year we saw penn state at ohio state. some others we have planned are: harvard at yale, usc at notre dame, alabama/auburn, texas/oklahoma, lafeyette/lehigh (oldest [in terms of games played] in college football), osu at michigan, etc. at any rate, this year we wanted to see joe paterno coach so we picked osu/penn state. of course things didn't work out so well and joe pa was MIA. but the trip went on anyway and we had a good time.
  • flew out early on friday and saw columbus (ohio's largest which surprises most people when i tell them). we had been through the city before on the baseball trip, but neither of us remembered it much i think because we went on the outskirts more than anything else. so we saw the city including german village, the capitol building, the downtown area, the main campus drag (high street), a topiary version of seurat's "a sunday afternoon...," (pic below) and then went to eat at eddie george's grille. george was an osu running back, heisman winner, and later played for the titans. the weather was decent. it got down to about 40, but that was the worst of it. after that we went to the hotel and ate bread with the best olive oil i've ever had. imported from spain we picked it up at a deli (katzinger's) in the german village. very buttery with not too much bite. great stuff.
  • saturday was the game so we got up early and worked out. ate at tim horton's which is popular in the great lakes area. he was a hockey player who founded a pretty decent franchise that offers breakfast-centered foods. most of the day we hung out on campus. we saw most of the campus (which is quite beautiful and precisely what i think of when i envision a college campus) and went to the art gallery on campus which had some good work from alexis rockman. then we ate at the student union which was about average for student union food. then it was game time. they take football pretty seriously at osu which is what i expected. they're also pretty nice from what i could tell. ohio in general is filled with nice people. when i lived there i got that impression as well, but it was even more marked when coming straight from oakland. it's not that people in california are particularly rude, but people in ohio seem to make a conscious effort to be kind and respectful. the seats weren't great because the view was obscured, but we're working on getting something back on that. some people wear hats that say 1942 (first year that they won a national title). tbdbitl is a popular acronym it stands for the best damn band in the land and i have to agree. they're very precise and the script ohio is the coolest thing i think i've seen from a marching band. from a pure visual stand point i've yet to see anything better. musically i'm not able to judge. extra action does some good stuff, usc's band is real good and there are some bands in the south that are well regarded. but when it comes to theatrics and my view of what a marching band should be, osu is the best i've seen so far.
  • it was senior day and i thought it was cool that they mentioned all the seniors in the band as well as the seniors on the football team. i can't recall seeing that or hearing of it elsewhere.
  • they did cards like cal and others, but this time around they did the numbers of the seniors on the football team during the game.
  • they also raised the biggest damn flag i've ever seen. the army rotc people raised it in an entertaining, indescribable fashion. should have gotten video of that.
  • when the band first comes on the entire crowd claps quickly to welcome them onto the field. after the game the band stays behind and plays for a while which i enjoyed.
  • watching a game at osu felt more like i was going to church than to a football game. usc fans get into the tailgating and they love the team. cal fans don't do the tailgating as much, but they love their team just as much or more. but going to osu there was something different in the air. they really seemed to love and cherish the experience. the way they sang the ohio fight song, the way they clapped along, they way they sang the national anthem, it all felt more like church than anything else.
  • after the game we went out for dinner again at a local place on high street and then went to the hotel and watched the usc/oregon game. jesus what a week for football. ok state loses (i've been predicting they would blow it since week 4). usc beats oregon because chip kelly decided to play for overtime and because for 3 quarters they couldn't stop the usc offense which might be the best in the pac-12 at this point. oregon needs a quality qb. usc's defense seems to have finally gotten a couple things ironed out, but they still have a way to go. usc is back in the top ten which amazes me, but it's also kind of a weird year so i'm not too psyched. more than anything (other than it being a great game to watch) that game was big for recruiting. it means oregon may lose a couple recruits that they were trying to poach from california schools so that's a good thing. then oklahoma blows it to baylor (i thought they would win and then beat ok state next week to ruin things for them, but this way is even better). then stanford almost loses to cal. stanford is officially overrated after barely beating usc, losing big at home to oregon and almost losing at home to cal which is in the middle of the pack. down year for the pac-12 in my opinion despite what herbstreit says.
  • sunday we decided, on a whim, to visit my old home at cuyahoga national park, as well as kent state university, and the house from a christmas story which is in cleveland. kent is a depressing little college town. they have a memorial on campus because of the four students who were killed by the national guard. it was a timely visit because of what has been going on at the uc schools and occupy protests in general. depressing that things really haven't changed much.
  • after kent went to cuyahoga n.p., which is where i worked in 2006-07. it was good to revisit the place and it brought back more memories than visiting ohio had already. ohio is a great place. it may be the most american state in the union. i've been to 49 of them and ohio and pennsylvania strike me as the two that embody what america is more than any others. that's not always a good thing, but it is what it is. i happen to love ohio. i wish it well. the people are the salt of the earth. maybe not the most evolved or enlightened in some ways, some of their politics are regrettable, but they're good people and that's basically how i feel about america on the whole.
  • the final stop before the airport was the a christmas story house. talk about a microcosm of america...ohio is one, but the a christmas story house was a step even further in that direction. so we find the house and park on some guy's lawn because he's waving a bright orange flag and directing us there. after i had already started to turn i notice a little sign that says $5 for parking. i figure i'll just bite the bullet. the guy seems like he's seen better days and we're on vacation so what the hell. turns out that the lawn is his and i guess he does this for a living, or at least to supplement it. so this guy get's a couple hundred bucks a day during the good days in cash. i'm guessing he doesn't report it to the irs. he's out their hustling up money because he sees an opportunity and, hey, all the more power to him. his neighbor is an older, heavier smoking lady who is doing the same thing, but with far less energy and is making less money as a result. the american dream in action i guess.
  • then there's the house itself. the whole attraction is actually three houses. one is a museum, the other is a gift shop and the third is the actual house. you pay $10 a pop to get into the house which includes a little 10 minute speech from a nice young lady who may or may not be on speed. she's knowledgeable and energetic, a fine little bit of info is included on the house and the film. turns out that the house wasn't an attraction until about 2005 when a guy from california paid $150k for it (even though houses in the area were going for more like $30k). probably bought it with a shady loan, given the year of purchase, but hey that's the american dream or whatever. i guess he was all depressed with life and his parents made him a leg lamp like the one in the movie. so he decides to make them himself and sell them on ebay. makes a good living that way and then buys the house to take things to the next level. fixes the place up with another $250k and now i guess he's living off the proceeds of the tours and souvenir sales.
  • i'm as big a fan of the film as the next guy, but some of the people who went on this tour were crazy. they get under the sink (like randy does in the film when he's scared) and pose for pictures. they pose in front of the xmas tree, they use the decoder ring while sitting on the toilet, etc. it's priceless americana. i'm just sitting back watching as these people live out their fantasy and inhabit the roles of the people in the film. everyone experiences this stuff differently i guess. what a trip. we snap a couple photos, go outside to see stuff there and then goto the museum.
  • the museum is mostly snapshots of the crew on set as well as some original costumes. but the real attraction was that the actor who played randy (the little brother) was there. he looks like a normal guy and from what i heard from him talking to people, he's very normal. but there he is getting paid $10 a pop for signatures and a photo. there's a whole subculture of has-beens who still make a living off their appearances in cult films/tv shows. you see it at wonder-con and the like all the time. again, classic americana. speaking of which the house received some award from fox8 and they misspelled "museum" as "musem." freaking classic.
  • of course we also got some crap from the souvenir shop. i'm generally against the collecting of plastic shit, but meryl is intent on collecting xmas ornaments from the places we visit. doesn't seem like a completely useless enterprise so i gave in and we got something from osu and the a christmas story house. all in all the visit to the house was itself worth the trip out to ohio. amazing what you can get in three days when you don't stop moving.
  • speaking of which, i'm hoping to get a lot of stuff done around the house during the thanksgiving break. maybe finish the electrical in the big room, maybe start on the cabinet for meryl's parents, maybe some work outside if the weather holds up.

  • misspelled "museum":

    our seats weren't quite as bad as some of these:

    topiary version of a sunday afternoon:

    fucking priceless:

    11/14/11 (17:48)

  • finished up with a little retaining wall project in the front of the house. took a weekend plus the time sean and i spent trenching it out while meryl was laying the pavers on the driveway. we'll plant stuff there next year. hope to cover it in the meantime so nothing grows there.
  • this and the bathroom might be our two best before and after pictures:

  • 11/12/11 (09:49)

  • we finished the patio the other day. good to finally get that over and done with. all that's left is to drill one hole for the gate latch to lock into the patio, but that shouldn't be a problem.
  • we've been concurrently working on the living room (the big room) and that's going to take a lot of work. the electrical alone is going to be a pain. then there's a ton of paint prep and the painting itself is going to be arduous.
  • speaking of painting, meryl helped me paint the big boss' office yesterday and we knocked it out in a 12 hour day. we decided to spray and backroll rather than roll it all. if it had been a nice day outside, instead of rainy, i think it would have been smoother because the paint would have dried better between coats. other than that it went pretty well and i'm glad to be done with it.
  • joe pa is out. pretty sad stuff, but from what i've heard he knew, when he knew it, and what he did/didn't do, it was probably the right decision. there's nothing pure in this world. the psu/osu game that we're going to next week in ohio will take on a much different meaning now.
  • rick perry's self-destruction is far more fun to watch than the usual celeb self-destruction which generally involves drugs and problems with the law. i think it says something about the republicans that that guy is taken seriously. he's raised the second most dollars of the contenders and was #1 in the polls for a while. kucinich is a bit strange and i'm sure there are other dems who are loopy, but i can't recall one of them being taken as seriously as perry is being taken now.

  • 11/10/11 (17:50)

  • worst time of the year with the time shift crap. hate that it gets dark so early. blah.

  • 11/8/11 (17:00)

  • hopefully going to finally finish off the patio tomorrow. no rain or wild winds in the forecast so that's good.
  • nice little story on steve jobs the tyrant and "delicate genius," to quote costanza. what a prick that guy was. the story pretty much confirms what i had suspected of jobs for years: namely that he was just a picky guy who did an elegant job of stealing ideas from others and making things pretty or slightly more functional. we need fewer guys like that in the world. people who are self-righteous and entitled. people who feel the world revolves around them. people whose delicate genius can't be interrupted. people who feel entitled because they're good at something. i love how intellectuals will throw terrell owens and other entitled athletes under the bus for being prima donnas while sticking up for steve jobs the genius innovator at the same time. pathetic. the article also discusses jobs' views on bill gates. among other things it implies that jobs looked disdainfully at gates' work in philanthropy and remarked that he's unimaginative which is why "he’s more comfortable now in philanthropy than technology." what a dick.
  • for some reason when i watched donnie brasco for the first time it occurred to me that great people often are forced to make the choice between their friends/family and society. donnie brasco basically ruined his home life for his undercover work bringing down the mob. society is better off as a result, but those around him, those closest to him, suffered as a result. i've always felt that you owe it to those close to you to be good to them first. i guess when you're doing something like bringing down the mob a case can be made that you're doing the right thing by screwing your family over with your absence or constant anger and drug issues. but when you're just making prettier and more user friendly phones, maybe you should "think different" about the way you're living your life. asshole.
  • gotta paint the new big boss' office friday and saturday. he's going with an all white motif, including getting rid of the desk that executive directors have used since the alumni house opened in the mid-50s. style is evidently of great importance to this guy so i'm not sure how much i'm going to like him.
  • i take it back, alabama's defense isn't as good as usc's defense was a few years ago.
  • this penn state scandal and cries for paterno's head is moving way too fast. the media does this shit all the time. they get all worked up over herman cain or joe paterno or anthony weiner and they want blood and they keep drumming away at something until they get it. after 46 years of running a clean program you'd think that paterno would have earned the benefit of the doubt. he's not the one accused of the crime, an ex-coach was. he went to the higher up and reported what he knew. beyond that, there's not much that's known so calls for his head are premature. go join a posse and round up frankenstein if you're so eager to sacrifice someone. jeesh.
  • now, as for cain, the guy is done. whenever 4 individuals make similar claims about the same thing, chances are there's some truth to it so he's going to go bye bye. what's funny about it is the republican outrage. they cry about the msm, the hypocrisy of the left (because of clinton), etc. the difference between clinton and cain is that monica wanted it and these other women didn't. both instances are morally wrong, but if the allegations are true then cain's situation is worse. whatever, they're all assholes. throw them in a ditch and light a match as far as i'm concerned (yeah, that's right, i just dehumanized politicians). it would be great if people of strong moral character would be capable of being elected. yeah right.
  • as i get older i find that i'm increasingly non-partisan. if someone is honest and reasonable i care less and less how they think it's best to solve the issues. i'm just tired of the games. i believer that if you put reasonable and informed people into a room, they'll get stuff done. problem with that is that they all say they don't play the washington games. it's extremely popular to run on an anti-washington, "i'm going to clean house" platform and they never do/can.

  • 11/6/11 (18:49)

  • well, lsu won the "game of the century," in what can only be described as "a game in this century." 9-6 and their defenses were good, but their offenses were poor. stanford, usc, and oregon have much better offenses, unfortunately none of them have championship caliber defenses this year.
  • didn't get much done this weekend. because of the threat of rain we worked inside instead of on the pavers. got some electrical done (no more knob and tube wiring in the house!) and some paint prep done as well. there are lots of defects in the plaster and repairing that takes a long time.
  • meryl ran a 5k today and did really well. our goal was to get under 22 minutes and she did it. she got first place, though the 5k competition was slim. she ran a really good time of 21:10 which is the real victory, and i know she can do even better as she becomes more acquainted with the distance.
  • after we got home we watched the niner game and napped. then i worked on the electrical some more. then we made a nice asian beef dinner and homemade ice cream.

  • 11/5/11 (8:58)

  • been thwarted by weather or the threat of weather the last two days we've tried to finish off the paver project. an epic wind blew small leaves into the cracks between the pavers one day and was blowing half the day which would have made sweeping sand into the gaps basically a nightmare. today we're delaying because of the threat of rain. if we weren't using polymeric sand then we'd just get it done, but the polymeric stuff sticks to everything once it gets wet and we don't want it sticking to the top of the pavers.
  • so our efforts have moved inside. patching and repairing plaster in the big room has been the primary goal. today hopefully we'll get some wiring and more paint prep done.
  • also have the lsu/alabama game today. big game of course and presumably the rights to the national championship are on the line. i think lsu is slightly better, but i haven't seen too much of either team. alabama's defense is about as good as usc's was a few years ago, not sure about their offense. it's in alabama so presumably they get the edge as it's a toss up for me.

  • been watching more movies lately which is good.

    10/30/11 (18:52)

  • another great usc/stanford game. went to palo alto last year and saw that one, but this one was even better. stanford's defense is definitely suspect and usc's offense  wasn't as sharp as i have seen it be this year. i think oregon may be the best of the three teams and i don't think even they are that great. frankly, i think it's a down time for the pac-12. anyway, it was a great game even though it didn't turn out how i would have liked. definitely some missed opportunities, but it has me as hopeful as ever about usc rebounding from the sanctions. they finally looked good in the red zone and mcneal should be their rb from now on. tyler was never really cutting it. barkley needs another year and wasn't making the throws that he usually makes without trouble. he needs to work on his accuracy, especially downfield.
  • while in la i also ran a tv cable in the wall for my mom and visited people.
  • my dad is more or less blind out of one eye now and my mom's cousin was arrested for drug trafficking or some related crime.
  • last week i had three precancer things frozen off my forehead, guess i have to watch out for that now.
  • wednesday should be the last day of the patio work. lay down the sand, broom it in, vibrate everything down, lay down more sand, broom it clean and water it down. hopefully it goes as easy as it sounds.
  • going to watch the niner game right now.

  • 10/27/11 (19:15)

  • in my movie review for southern belles a couple weeks ago i said that that was the movie that would make me sell short netflix stock. too bad i didn't take my advice. their stock went down about 30% the other day.
  • new big boss man at work is an obnoxious micromanager. could be bad news.
  • been real busy lately. working on the patio which is a day away from being done. just need to get sand into all the cracks and vibrate everything down. yay.

  • 10/15/11 (19:39)
  • usc still isn't playing well even though they got a win against cal. no red zone offense to speak of and their defense is spotty. worked against a green qb who had a bad game, but isn't good enough for the next level competition.
  • tomorrow is a big game for the niners. we'll see if they're for real or not. their o-line will get a workout against a really good d-line.
  • worked today because of homecoming. hopefully will get a lot done tomorrow since it's my only weekend day off. hope to have the driveway all dug out and a trench done for the drain which will hook up to one of the downspouts on the side of the house. we're basically just going to get a gravel trench dug and have the water leech into the soil near the front lawn, rather than pool next to the foundation.
  • also need to do several movie reviews and there are a bunch of little projects that have been piling up.
  • next weekend sean will be in town so less gets done around the house, but he's a good worker bee so the time i spend on the house is more productive. hope to have him help put in a little retaining wall in the front yard.
  • tigers are having some problems. really they're the only team i would want to win at this point. i think the brewers are pretty much done for at this point, i don't like the rangers and i'm not a cards fan either.

  • 10/11/11 (17:26)

  • rained all day yesterday which made progress very slow. meryl stayed inside most of the day and i tried to get some stuff done for the driveway. the slab there is thicker and wasn't moving much. took the remaining pavers off the driveway and dug up a little bit of space on the side of the house to make way for the pavers as they approach the driveway.
  • here are some progress shots. i think we did a pretty good job of keeping the lines straight, especially for first timers and especially once we got past the first few sections.
  • tomorrow i'm hoping that we'll get the driveway broken up and dug up. then we can start laying the base and doing all that fun stuff again.

  • 10/9/11 (17:04)
  • got a lot done today on the pavers project. paved almost all the way up to the driveway, put in most of the edging, concrete on top of that and mulch over top of that. it's looking pretty good. tomorrow will be tedious. lots of cuts to make the house side of the path fit. also want to get the landing outside the kitchen fixed up because they had to cut a hole in the concrete when they redid the sewer lateral. after that's all done we'll demo the driveway and start the same process over again there. that'll be more difficult since there's a slope to the driveway and it'll need to be very well compacted and graded since my truck will be there all the time. after all the pavers have been laid we'll compact them all down and put polymeric sand in between them to lock them in place.

  • 10/9/11 (08:46)

  • taking off monday so i have a three day weekend to try to get the patio done. yesterday we made a lot of progress and we should be done with laying the bulk of the pavers today. then we have a bunch of cuts and some edging to install. after all that is done we'll rip up the driveway and do that section. hopefully we'll get that done by the end of wednesday.
  • are people taking herman cain seriously or do they just like him because he's funny and they want to prove they're not racist?

  • 10/6/11 (20:44)

  • tried working on the patio today. it was raining off and on most of the day, though, so that was a challenge. we got some concrete on the edging and got most of the cuts done. then a tropical storm came through and washed away a bunch of our sand and messed up our concrete work a bit. hopefully it'll turn out okay. we were going to need to get more sand anyway because we're going to end up tackling the driveway sooner rather than later. i'm hoping that we can get the majority of the patio done this weekend. we have a good system down now so i think we should be able to make good time.
  • worked inside for an hour or so as well. working on the big room. meryl is leading the charge. we cleaned up the cracks a bit and i patched a hole. going to need to do some plaster repair, another patch and more cleaning before we can paint. also we'll redo the electrical, install new lights, sand/stain the floors and probably do something around the fireplace.

  • 10/5/11 (18:16)

  • rained a lot the last day or two so that may have set us back on the patio project. hopefully the sand setting bed didn't get washed away too much. hopefully the sun is out tomorrow and we can continue where we left off. if not then we'll do cuts, get the edges secured with concrete and maybe begin work on the big room inside.
  • broke up the house pictures by year. this should make it more manageable to update as well as view. will take a day or so to get it all reuploaded though.

  • 10/4/11 (20:41)

  • should be uploading the updated pictures tonight. been fairly good about sticking to my schedule of getting the new pictures out the first week of the month.
  • sarah and eli came over on sunday and we got a good amount done. also did a bunch of cuts on my own, those took a while. hopefully the rain stops and we can work on some more on thursday.
  • took a couple days off in the last couple weeks to get a little more done on the patio as well as hang out with meryl for her birthday. we went to the zoo which is a favorite place of hers. the rest of the day we watched movies and hung out. it was raining so i didn't feel too bad about not working.
  • also went to luke's last week to get some stuff knocked off his punch list. he's in france now and renting out his house so there were a number of things that needed fixing in order for that to happen.

  • 10/1/11 (18:27)
    worked on the pavers today. we're finally done with all the prep so we started laying down the actual pavers. inch of sand, screeded to its proper slope and then lay down the pavers. we have 8 pallets of pavers, a little over 4,000 of them, along with 3 yards of sand. we may run out of sand and we've gone through 2 pallets of pavers. we got about 250 sq. ft. done today which is pretty good for a day's work when it's the first time we've laid pavers. tomorrow meryl is working for the raiders so i'll be on my own most of the day. but sarah and eli are coming by and i think we'll screed the next few sections first and then i'll have them keep feeding me pavers until it's all paved. then i'll fill in all the cuts and do the edging when they're gone since those are a one man operation anyway.

    9/26/11 (17:57)

  • long weekend. friday i drove down to la, stayed there long enough to put my stuff into dad's car and then we left for arizona. unfortunately we left just before rush hour on probably the most crowded freeway in la so it took a while to get there. 8 hours which includes the time to eat dinner. slept at a motel 6 that night.
  • next morning we hung out in tempe and looked at the campus, watched moneyball, played some pool and ate. watched the game at night (7:15p start time and it was still 100 degrees). the student body at asu is as advertised. they're a party school so most of them acted drunk, whether they were or not is another matter. it was an ok game for the first 3 quarters or so, but usc played like crap in the red zone. turning the ball over, settling for field goals, getting penalized, etc. asu beat usc for the first time in 11 years.
  • the girls at the school don't wear much, but that's about all i can say it has going for it. oh, and it might be the only school in the country where the stadium isn't big enough for the student body. the capacity of the stadium is right around 70k as is the total (post/under graduate) student body. last time i checked they were #1 in that category as well as the date rape category (kidding). actually, when we were leaving (early) there were two guys talking about what an awesome blow out the game was. first of all, it wasn't much of a blow out. second of all, if it was so awesome, why did you leave the game early? anyway, after they were done talking about the "blow out" one of them mentioned that he was going to go home and call a prostitute. he also remarked that she was expensive,  his friend said she ws dirty, and he said that's how he liked it. so, maybe the date rape comment wasn't a low blow after all. before the game i did hear two young men speaking about the austrian school of economics, but it turned out they were usc fans. which makes sense both because of the caliber of the discussion as well because usc students, being more conservative, would tend to discuss the austrian model over keynesian economics.
  • the thing that politicians especially don't seem to understand about keynes is that he didn't advocate running a surplus at all times and spending like crazy in times of peace and prosperity, rather he felt the government should step up in times when the economy needed it. personally, i see nothing wrong with that approach. it eliminates the primary criticism that i hear of his model, that is the need for constant growth and the so-called ignoring of the debt problem.

  • 9/22/11 (18:56)

  • fed is basically irrelevant at this point. they print money and come up with weak schemes like QE1 and QE2 and now the "twist" all to increase lending. they're really smart people who played all their cards long ago and there's nothing left for them to do.
  • obama is going to be a sacrificial lamb and the economy might be too. his problem/strength is that he goes with those around him. he doesn't lead so much as he makes decisions. this can be really good during normal times, but these aren't normal times. we need fdr 2.0. a person who can come in and crack some skulls and get shit done in the first 100 days. unfortunately the progressive movement in this country is basically dead. the media is a pathetic mess intent on covering the most simplistic and sensational things in our culture, making something out of nothing, and overly obsessed with the idea of fairness at the cost of reality. then there's the polity which is unengaged, ignorant, stupid and selfish.
  • the days of american exceptionalism are gone. i think there was a time when america was exceptional (though also hypocritical and not as good as it could have been), but those days are done. we're too full of idiots, lazy people and uber-rich elites. our government stopped working for us many years ago and became like the military industrial complex - an entity unto itself whose sole goal is to increase its own size and reach. we're a fucking mess and there's plenty of blame to go around.
  • going to arizona this weekend to see usc play a game there. my dad and i plan on seeing a game at a new pac-12 stadium each year. the last couple years we've done cal and stanford and now it's asu.

  • 9/19/11 (17:10)

  • niners blew a 10 point lead in the fourth quarter yesterday. pathetic. defense let us down and coaching wasn't great in my opinion. harbaugh gets to the nfl and becomes mr. by the book all of a sudden. totally lame.
  • got a fair amount of work done on the house this weekend. had 4.5 yards of pack delivered, plus another .5 yards in my truck. we hauled it all to the back/side of the house and then compacted it in place on sunday using a rented plate compactor. takes about 20 shovels per wheel barrow and about 10 wheelbarrows per half a yard. so it was about 2,000 shovel loads. i did most of the shoveling and meryl did most of the wheelbarrowing. i got a second wheelbarrow from the library so that meant constant shoveling and greater production. back was sore the next day, but in a good way. i think my back benefits from this hard work.
  • we also got a half yard of pea gravel and put that under the decks, on a former patch of weeds on the side of the house and under the addition in the back. no more muddy mess or weeds in those areas. of course we laid down filter fabric as well.
  • still have one or two more lifts of pack to put down before we've built up the required 4-6" of pack over the entire 700 square feet of space. tonight we'll probably lay out some flags to helps us gauge the required thickness over the course of the whole yard. the last step may be the most difficult. laying down the sand in a perfectly flat and true way and then carefully laying the pavers down one by one. can't be on the sand while laying the pavers so there will need to be some bridges that we setup over the sand bed. should be a rewarding project once it's finally done, but it's taking a lot of figuring and more hard labor than we've done on any project so far. we've moved many many tons of material on and off-site and we have many more to go.

  • 9/16/11 (19:46)

  • foot has been hurting a bit lately, probably because i'm running once a week. doctor says to take ibuprofen and ice. if things don't improve then i should go in to get an x-ray. pretty unlikely that it's broken. i assume it would hurt a lot more than it does.
  • next two days we'll be working on getting the pack into the back/side yard. two layers of a couple inches thick. going to be 9 yards or so. it's going to be tedious work, but hopefully it will only take this weekend to get the pack down and be ready for the sand/pavers.
  • the solyndra thing is not good for obama. there was an article recently about some professor who had correctly picked the last seven elections using some 9 or 11 point system. he predicted obama would win in 2012, but one of the points that obama had earned was something like "no administration scandals." if the solyndra thing has legs then that point would be taken away from obama. i think the margin was wide, though, so presumably he'd still be safe according to the system. honestly, i don't think it looks good for him at this point, but we're more than year out so the 24 hour news media should probably calm down a bit. i actually talked with a local solar panel instructor and installer who is teaching people to teach people in china to install solar over there. here's what i found out: they were selling a technology that cost $6/watt to produce for $3/watt while the chinese pv panels cost $1/watt. they get more energy (including some from rooftop refraction) and are easier to install (no roof penetrations) so would have been better for larger scale commercial projects. my take is that the numbers just didn't work out and the administration was hoping that it was going to take off like gwb did with hydrogen. it could be a technology someone revisits in 5-10 years, but it doesn't have a place in the marketplace right now. they need subsidies, not loans. again, another example of how the obama administration squandered the $700 billions stimulus.
  • the more the republicans tighten their stance, the more i like obama by contrast, but the truth is that he's just not the right guy for the time. progressives needed a tough leader who was going to fight for progressive causes and spend money not on compromises like the latest stimulus. he extends an olive branch with tax cuts and that just makes the bargaining begin from a weaker position. his gamble is that the american people will see him being reasonable and will choose him because he's willing to compromise for the common good. that's a big gamble.
  • his mistake with the first stimulus was that he didn't push for specific programs like a ccc or wpa. instead he set an amount he wanted to see spent and then let the congress choose their pet projects. so solyndra type cronyism was bound to happen.
  • "Secular schools can never be tolerated because such schools have no religious instruction, and a general moral instruction without a religious foundation is built on air; consequently, all character training and religion must be derived from faith." - hitler

  • 9/14/11 (20:35)

  • trying to work out more and eat better. lost a couple pounds as a result of my changes this year. it's a new way of life because my metabolism will only get slower with time. my advice to the younger generation is to enjoy hamburgers and milkshakes while you can and then make a concerted effort to change your habits before it's too late.
  • paver project will recommence on saturday. today i took a couple trips to the local landscape supply yard and got a yard of pea gravel. shoveled it under the house addition on top of filter fabric. shouldn't have any more weeds there and it also makes for a better experience when we have to do plumbing, etc. down there.
  • getting better at the arc welding, but still only working in the flat position. i have much respect for true welders. it's highly scientific, somewhat unpleasant, and requires a good deal of hand eye coordination (at least arc welding does).
  • here are a couple pics of the cabinet we built and installed at meryl's dad's place. evidently i deleted the before picture, i'll get it from meryl later. there was just an alcove with nothing in it before. these are the afters. lighting is bad because we needed to turn off the power to work on the in-cabinet lighting. next up is the tv area at the left of the second picture. overall i'm pretty happy with how it turned out. the waterborne alkyd was really good, making the fluted trim on the side was a good experience as was working with the adjustable shelving jig. the curve at the top took a bit of doing to get right, but most of all the planning was the thing that took the longest.

  • here's the same area when they had a fireplace. we took that out and finished it nice so the tv is in there now. you can kinda see the alcove on the right of this picture:

  • 9/7/11 (09:53)

  • ran over a mile the other day. it's the first time i've run more than 50 yards since i hurt my foot a couple months ago. it's not fully pain free yet, but it's healed to the point where walking doesn't hurt and i can rotate it without much pain.

  • 9/1/11 (16:46)

  • arc welding is difficult to get looking good.
  • three day weekend coming up. have a few small things planned, but meryl is gone for two days at work so we're not going to be making headway on the paver project. that will start next weekend.
  • after the welding class i'd like to take one on cabinet making and maybe low voltage wiring.
  • i don't think i'm going to vote for any of the usual suspects any more. i've voted for barbara lee and boxer and feinstein in the past, and i like them to a certain extent and to varying degrees. unfortunately i think the system is so fundamentally flawed and there seems to be so much puerile and intractable behavior on the part of congress and politicians in washington that i think it's time to clean house. lee votes how i would vote on a lot of issues, but she's also unwilling to compromise. there's really no point in having people who can't compromise on anything. the straw that may have broken my back on this was this story. everyone talks about washington being broken but it doesn't seem like many are willing to fix it. obama seems to be doing the best job of he major players right now. but if i had one question for him i'd ask him if he could stop taking vacations and golf outings because having to hear about them makes it really difficult to defend him sometimes.

  • honestly, if i could get a job in canada i'd take it and leave this place. i love america in a lot of ways, but i'm just tired of the bullshit.

    8/30/11 (16:40)

  • installed the cabinet on sunday. worked out pretty well. we had to do a fair amount of electrical which took longer than anything else. it was the first true bookcase i've done and the first built-in so i'm pretty happy with it. a couple things i would have done differently if i could redo it, but overall i'm satisfied with how it turned out. to the lay person it looks pretty professional. the oil/water hybrid from kelly-moore was a good paint to work with. the waterborne alkyds are getting more popular and i think they're the wave of the future for trim and built-ins. oddly, though, kelly-moore only had 1 gallon in stock.
  • going to work for meryl's property management company tomorrow. she's still working on a place in sf for her brother and she needs a handyman. we'll see how that goes. plumbing. ugh.
  • not psyched about my welding class tonight. i've learned some things, but it hasn't been great so far. i just want to get to the welding. it's a bit of overkill to take a 3+ month course just to learn arc welding, but that's what they offer and i'll learn a lot of other things as well so that's always good.
  • pretty pessimistic these days about the state of our culture, economy, country and political system. things are going to get worse before they get better. we haven't done anything substantive to address any of our core issues.

  • 8/24/11 (13:06)

  • started priming the cabinets for meryl's dad/stepmom today. going pretty well. we don't have the topcoat yet, they're providing it. after we get that i'll spray a coat of that and then install the whole thing into its nook. after that it's touch-ups and we'll be done with the first built-in.
  • after installing that it'll be time to get back to work on the patio/paver project.
  • i think huntsman may be the most reasonable of the republican candidates. going on the offensive has gotten him some press lately.

  • 8/16/11 (18:59)

  • i'm not a fan of ron paul, but the guy is consistent and doesn't seem to be a hypocrite and i have much respect for that in a political environment that taints pretty much everything it touches. so, he finished a close second in the iowa straw poll, which doesn't reallly mean shit, but people are exalting bachmann like it does so...anyway, paul finishes second and there's nothing but crickets and tumbleweeds on this guy. wtf? pArry gets press, bachmann, pawlenty for quitting, and romney...but not paul. it stinks of a media blackout. there's not much i hate more than politicians, but the media sometimes gives them a run for their money. almost.
  • watched the enron documentary again last night. extremely aggravating.
  • i'm not sure what it is with our society, but for some reason when you talk about morality and ethics it seems like people tend to associate that more with conservatives than liberals. liberals are stereotypically seen as lenient with regards to things like sex and drugs. "if it doesn't hurt others, then it's ok." that kind of thing. i'm a pretty liberal guy, but i've never truly embraced that ideology. then there's the kind of morality that extends to doing the right thing in life. being the voice of the voiceless. being the change you wish to see in the world. these are catchphrases, but i feel like not a lot of people live them. i have a vision that people used to be that way more than they are now. i'm not sure if that's true, it's hard to say, and ultimately it doesn't really matter. what i can say is that people tend to do the expedient, easy and selfish thing a lot more than i would like. it's easier to tell a lie than it is to have a conflict. it's in my best interest to keep quiet or keep my eyes down if something wrong is going on around me. we can't legislate this stuff, either. it's gotta come from society and upbringing (parenting). i'm thinking about this stuff because i watched the enron documentary last night. that company created a culture that was perfect for exactly what i'm talking about.
  • i guess what it comes down to is a couple things: people need to do the right thing and tell others when they're not doing the right thing. meryl and i were at a burger shop not long ago and we were standing in line. two little girls (maybe 9 and 12) came up and the younger one cut in front of us in the line. we stood there, kind of shocked for a minute. the 12 year old went to the back of the line and at one point the young one gestured to her sister to come with her in line and the older one mouthed to her "you're cutting." the younger one ignored her and stayed in line. a few seconds later the older one went in front of us and joined her sister. it didn't really bother me all that much, but what ended up sticking in my craw is that i didn't correct it. the older one knew what her younger sister was doing was wrong. the younger sister knew it too and yet nothing happened. i could have said "excuse me, i think you cut in line" and they would have capitulated and probably been less likely to try it in the future. but i didn't have the courage to potentially get in an argument with a couple preteens and maybe their parents (who were at a table in the corner). i'd like to think i'd have the courage to do something if i were at enron. there's no telling.
  • first three pages of my itunes sorted by number of plays. it's not 100% accurate because i don't know if it counts it when it's played on the ipod and it only counts it if you've listened to almost the entire song. anyway, it's kinda fun.
  • what's really fun is having every song i own rated. it's insanely easy to make good mixes now. i'm also getting better about adding comments so i can include notes like where a song was used, what songs it sampled, where it's sampled elsewhere, etc. i also tagged all the holland-dozier-holland songs which is also useful since they're fucking amazing.

  • 8/15/11 (17:14)

  • forgot a couple movies, so i added them today. need to be better about writing them down as i see them; i'm short changing myself.
  • if anyone has a good listing of all the government social welfare programs i would love to see it. i'd like to see them listed by name and include the following information: how much they cost, how many people they help, what the assistance is, what the criteria are for getting the assistance, and how long the assistance lasts. right now it seems like we have a patchwork of programs that helps niches here and there along with the big ones of medicare, ss, and food stamps.
  • i feel like we can't even have the discussion about this stuff unless we really know what it entails and what the criteria are. for example we have publicly debated the unemployment going longer than 99 weeks because the vote was in the congress and the media sorta covered the issue. but what about all the others. what if it turns out that you just need to say you have a bad back without any proof and you can get medicaid benefits for life? conversely, what if it turns out you need four doctors to sign off on it after you've paid for them out of pocket and the benefits only cover 50% of your health coverage for a maximum of 2 years throughout your life? are either of those fair? i don't think so. instead we just talk in generalizations. "nanny state," "the rich don't pay their fair share," "welfare queens," etc.
  • warren buffet had a good op-ed on the issue of tax burden today.
  • thome hit his 600th and 601st home runs today. only 8 have hit that many and at least three of them did steroids. thome hasn't ever been in that discussion and he hit them in fewer at bats than anyone else other than babe ruth. ruth will probably always be the greatest of all-time in my mind. hank aaron stuck around a long time, but he wasn't as pure a hitter as the others in the 600 club. griffey is the great tragedy because of his health problems. he could have been a 700 guy if he has been more healthy. bonds is a farce as are sosa and a-rod.

  • 8/12/11 (17:12)

  • i've said before, solutions are plenty. there are enough smart people out there to give lawmakers, judges, presidents good ideas. we just need people who can make good decisions with the info they're presented and work well with others. let me put it this way - i could solve all the biggest problems today by just looking at the candidates' old report cards. i would ignore all the grades for history or math or science and look only at the "plays well with others" column. good grades there? ok, you're in. bad grades there? you're out.
  • niners first preseason game tonight. we'll see how that goes.
  • been listening to the intelligence squared podcasts. oxford style debating on various topics. it's fun stuff and they keep it civil.
  • tiger woods looks to be done. he should just take a vacation for a year and clear his mind. trying to slog through this slump probably isn't going to do him any good, although it gives sportswriters something to do when they're not picking their noses.
  • took this political compass quiz, it's not perfect, but it's kind of fun.
  • to me, one of the great inspirations of the founders was their ability to put their differences aside and come up with the constitution. it's fundamentally flawed in some ways - it didn't acknowledge the fundamental human rights of women and blacks, for example. but i think they knew that eventually those things would come to pass and that they had to create a document to unite the states in the meantime. it's a great example of what reasonable people can accomplish when they must and when they put away their sacred cows for the greater good.

  • 8/11/11 (19:14)
  • meryl's working the raiders game tonight.
  • working on updating all the pictures from the past month. now that i have it on my calendar it should be a regular occurence that pics are uploaded the second week of each month. hopefully i stick to that.
  • dow was up today.
  • lately we've been working on meryl's dad's built-in cabinet. there are going to be two that we'll end up building. one in the tv area (a sort of entertainment center) and the other is off to the side of the tv and will display things and hold books and whatnot. we're building the book/display case first.
  • neighborhood cat killed a good size rat in our backyard today. we see little mice from time to time, but i don't think i've seen a rat so far (except the dead ones when we first moved in). cats are useful.

  • 8/10/11 (22:27)

  • wedding went well. got a little sunburned, but that doesn't happen often these days so i guess it's forgivable.
  • got a couple cavities filled today after work. first cavities in a long time, then again i haven't been to the dentist in a few years either. well, except that one time to fix my chipped tooth.
  • tested the sewer lateral yesterday and it turns out that they didn't tie in the kitchen sink. hilarious especially considering they weren't going to tie in the shower until i brought it to their attention. there were two pipes that they dug up and they just assumed that one of them was abandoned. so, before they tied into the new lateral, i asked them about the other pipe and the guy said it was old and wasn't used anymore. i said i thought it was used for the shower and asked if we could test it. so meryl went in and ran the tub and sure enough some water cam out of the pipe. so they did some more digging and figured it out. well, just about the time they were getting ready to leave i thought about the kitchen sink and where it drained to. i thought it would be good to check where it went because i wasn't certain that it went back to the main stack. sure enough, i dug around and found that it probably met up with the lateral further down the line than they were digging. this is a downside to a trenchless system, i guess, but certainly one that could be avoided if they did any kind of testing whatsoever. long story short, i tested it out and the kitchen drains to the side of the house (i.e., it dumps into the ground) and they're coming back next week to make it right. if i was the average homeowner or had not been on site when they did the work, and we had gotten this company (a reputable area plumbing company) to do this, we would have a shower and kitchen sink that weren't draining into the sewer, but rather into the dirt on the side of the house. idiots.
  • the debt ceiling fallout has been interesting to follow. i think it's a time to buy stock rather than sell, but that's just me. the stock market is about companies, not governments. the downgrade has little influence on the ability of the people to buy new ipods or soda or even cars.
  • politically i think that obama is destined to be a one-term president. he's going to be a scapegoat and a large part of that is his fault. he didn't present a bold vision on the economy. the stimulus was conservative and not well-planned. he should have fought for a second round, a bigger first round and smarter spending all around. people in the media are finally beginning to mention the words "works progress administration," though i fear they are bringing that one up too late in the game.
  • the conservatives have been masterful at shaping the debate (they usually are). they have shifted the burden to austerity and a focus on the debt, rather than on growth. i've known for probably 10-15 years that the economy needs to constantly grow in order for it to work. i remember first learning about that and getting depressed, but that's just the way it is. our economy is like a shark, if it stops then it dies. paying off $15 trillion in debt is impossible. it would take us running a $500 billion surplus for the next 30 years. right now our deficits are running about $1.4 trillion. so that means a $2 trillion swing beginning next year. literally impossible and politically impossible. after 3 years of running a surplus like that the right wingers would be up in arms. "why is the government making a profit off the hard work and taxes of the average american worker?" is how the debate would go. taxes would be cut, surpluses would drop, and we'd stop paying off our debts.
  • no, the only way to get out of this, as usual, is to make $15 trillion look like a small number - inflation and growth of the economy. it's worked before and hopefully it will work again. but in order for those to happen we need to have some fundamentals working for us. we have to stop competing with cheap. we should be competing with japan and germany in terms of quality. we have plenty of quality products that we produce (my mind always goes to tools like snap-on and craftsman vs. festool [germany] or makita [japan], but it could also be planes, cars, computers, etc.), but we need to increase that. we need to make serious investments in our future through education. we need to lose the idea that everyone should go to college. it's stupid and pointless to strive for the highest college graduation rate in the world (as obama would like to see). we need to fix entitlement programs and lower the cost of health care. we need to cut defense spending and get out of our wars abroad. we need to have a viable third party with a permanent seat at the table during presidential debates. we need to reign in corporate power. we need to reform the tax code - fewer breaks and write-offs, no loopholes, get capital gains in line with income tax rates. we need to get serious about helping people who need help and kicking freeloaders to the curb to fend for themselves. mandatory drug testing and community service if you're on welfare. freely available career assistance and job training and mentorship programs. more power to the states, less to the feds. fix the housing problems that continue to plague us - get real relief to homeowners under water. force the banks to settle, we can't have housing in limbo any longer.
  • unfortunately, the more i look into this stuff, it's painfully obvious that there are a thousand great ideas out there, but there is very little political will to enact them. solutions to so much of this stuff are not hard to come by, finding good people to write good laws is the tough part. the system is broken fundamentally and it has me wanting to leave more than ever.

  • 8/3/11 (18:36)

  • got a big wedding this weekend. ryan's getting hitched. johnny's flying into town (from switzerland) for it.

  • 8/1/11 (08:14)

  • new sewer lateral goes in today. a bit worried about there being unforeseen issues. we know the original clay line is offset at each joint and we know that when we take showers there is a leak that presents itself on the side of the house. the cleanout is also kinda backed up. so, i'm hoping that in spite of all that they can jet it clean, install a new line and we'll be good to go by the end of the day for the quoted price. they're doing a trenchless install so that should be fun to check out.

  • while they're doing that we're going to do some weeding and continue work on meryl's parents' built-in cabinet.

    7/31/11 (15:17)

  • i redid the tax chart below to make more sense. i just showed how much taxes are due, instead of assuming a certain withholding and then going from there. this way makes it easier to see who gets what. i'm not sure how the calculator works with regards to social security and medicare deductions.

  • 7/26/11 (17:20)

  • haven't been doing a good job of updating on here the last few months. i think part of that is that i do a lot of writing elsewhere so maybe i should just cut and paste some of that onto here, or vise versa.
  • a recent post from the contractor forum i frequent (where we also talk about politics/religion a lot):
  • "if i can just get this one mistruth out of the collective consciousness of the right wing i could die a happy man. about half you guys throw around the stat that is in the article: "We generally knew that 47 percent of our population pays no income taxes whatsoever." i've seen some people say "half the country pays no taxes" which is an even worse misrepresentation.
  • anyway, the actual stat is slightly different, but it's an important difference - 47% of the population pays no FEDERAL income tax. they still plays into ss, medicare, sales tax, and state taxes. while federal income taxes are a big chunk of what gets taken, the stat that gets thrown around is so misleading because it easily gives the impression that half the country is freeloading when that's not even close to the truth. "We have 50 percent of people who are getting something for nothing." i'll let you guess what organization spewed that lie.
  • it's also a figure that was taken just after the recession and was at 38% prior to the recession. also, when you consider the demographics (http://factfinder.census.gov/servlet..._2009_5YR_G00_) - 27.4% of the population is 0-19 years old. 12.6% is 65+ years old.
  • so, 40% of the country is marginally employable by age. yeah, i worked when i was 16 (during the summer) and my grandma is 75 and she still works (though maybe not like she used to). but when you look at the actual numbers and what the stat actually represents you see it's a gross misrepresentation of reality."
  • the debt ceiling stuff is getting to the tipping point. hopefully people will finally come to the realization that we need a third party to mix things up. to "cost al gore the election" as some say of nader or to "split the conservative vote" as some said of perot (twice). incidentally, perot got 18.9% of the vote after dropping out and then coming back in and he was talking primarily about the debt problem when it was under $5 trillion. we'll be at 14.3 trillion as of 8/2. obama comes off as real smart and balanced and reasonable in his speeches (like the one last night), the major problem being that he's still playing political games and i think he's lost a good deal of trust. he voted against the debt ceiling increase under bush and recently called it an immature mistake. does he really expect the tea party congressmen (who were elected primarily to shrink the footprint of govt.) to be more mature than he was on the same issue, and to go against their mandate?
  • a big part of the problem is the bipolar, childish nature of the polity - "we want less govt., but don't cut my programs." but a bigger problem is that the people who are supposed to know what they are doing have royally screwed the country at every turn. even best intentions are often the cause of problems. then there's the media that plays the soundbyte game and gives little to no context or analysis. so, yeah, the whole system is to blame and right now it's coming to a head on this issue. hopefully a viable third party can get into the debate and win some national seats to mix things up. right now it looks like that would come from the right because of where we are. i wish a real leftist party existed and had a shot. a party that could extol the virtues of streamlined, effective government programs. a party that stood for real, grassroots stimulus. a party that stood for a tax structure that makes sense and works; isn't overly complex, doesn't have a million deductions, doesn't
  • bottom line: the system continues to be broken and the status quo of voting for the lesser of two evils, growing idiotic government, and increasing corporate tyranny has progressively gotten us more and more screwed. now, if we could get a viable third option, grow useful government and prune wasteful government, and reign in corporate power, we'd be cooking with fire again.
  • now's the time to buy newscorp stock if you were ever interested in such a thing. if you followed my advice on bp and goldman sachs you would have made a healthy profit on those. apple continues to astound, i'm staying away even though they're looking into hulu now.
  • tomorrow we plan on building the rest of the pergola (we painted all the wood this weekend and got it started), picking up a couple seamless gutters (i gave them the specs and they extrude them on site) for the two garages in the yard, and hiring a day laborer to help finish off the digging that needs to be done for the patio project to progress. turns out that my mistake with the layout line along with bad eyes, means that we still have a few inches of dirt to take out in some big spots. ugh. i think we've been digging nonstop for a couple weeks and we still have more to do.
  • getting the gutters home could be an adventure. they're almost 21 feet long which is way longer than my truck and i don't have a roof rack or anything. good news is that they should be fairly rigid and it's only a couple miles away from home. i'll take side streets and hope it goes well.
  • was doing some tax research. it's always been quite a mystery to me. i went on turbo tax's tax estimator and ran some different scenarios. i looked at the different scenarios with and without kids and at different income levels. this is not at all scientific since there are a shitload of other deductions to take, but it was a fun experiment. based on this simplistic test it appears as though the govt. gives the biggest refunds to those the poor, especially those with kids. of course that makes sense since they need the money the most, but i never knew just how much one would get (not get back, but actually profit) as a result of being poor and having kids. (edit: redid this to make a little more sense)

    income federal taxes due kids (16 or under)
    20,000 398 (1.9%) 0
    -6,617 (-33%) 2
    45,000 3,949 (8.7%) 0
    -854 (-1.8%) 2
    75,000 10,191 (13.5%) 0
    6,366 (8.4%) 2
    125,000 23,085 (18.4%) 0
    21,260 (17.0%) 2
    300,000 80,339 (26.7%) 0
    80,339 (26.7%) 2

    7/20/11 (09:06)

  • google has the webpage spelled out with peas today. it's mendel's birthday so i guess that makes sense, but it could also be a sly commentary on the debt ceiling issue about which obama said "we need to eat our peas."
  • i have the day off, hope to get something done.

  • 7/18/11 (21:54)
  • yesterday sean and i worked on making a little walled in area for the garden shed. dug out a trench for some pt lumber, put gravel underneath, and next to it. then laid down to layers of brick. i'm definitely not a bricklayer, but it's fun and it was good practice.
  • we also watched the women's soccer final. meant to write about them earlier, but forgot. it was a fun run and i enjoyed watching their last few games. megan rapinoe is awesome and my favorite. alex morgan had a great run as did abby waumbach. this last game was a disappointment. they played like the better team, but just couldn't hold off japan - giving up the lead twice with less than 10 minutes left in the game. a depressing finish. i didn't think the substitution of heath for rapinoe was a good one. lloyd didn't have her shot going all day and rodriguez didn't get any playing time at all. coach is to blame for some of this stuff for sure.
  • still a lot to be done in the backyard before we bring in the pack. hope to get things graded on the side of the house today, we'll see. after double checking the initial grade on the side it turns out that my initial measurements were off as the north line got closer to the garage. so we're going to have to remove some more material from there. so, more digging.
  • our neighbor mowed our lawn for us yesterday. he's a nice guy. makes me feel bad that he offered to do that because it probably means we let it go too long.

  • 7/14/11 (17:02)

  • going to sf to see "wait, wait don't tell me" tonight. it's meryl's favorite npr show and i like it too, so we donated a few months back when they were giving the tickets away.
  • last wednesday claire ended up staying home, but luke came and we did a good job of getting a lot done. we broke up the entire patio (i jackhammered for a few hours, he used the mattock to pry up the broken pieces) and dumped most of the big pieces on the front lawn tarps.
  • last weekend we made even more headway on the patio project. sarah and eli came over on saturday and we got all the tiny bits of concrete moved to the front of the house and started filling up the pergola bed with dirt. they work really well.
  • sunday we continued moving dirt with all of meryl's parents. we got pretty much all of it down about 8" from the final grade height. the grading is going to take a while because there are so many different elevations and it wasn't really well pitched before. ideally all the elevations would be where we want them and there would be room for the whole patio to pitch toward the property line. instead we have a bunch of different elevations with no discernible method to the way it all pitches. for a first time patio project, this is a tough one. i didn't have it all planned out very well so we moved more slowly than i would have liked. if i ever do this again i'll try to have all the elevations figured beforehand. i also would probably just pay someone with a bobcat to do it for me because by the time i do this again i'll be rich and unable to dig, swing a sledge/mattock, move concrete, and run a jackhammer for 30 hours in a week.
  • yesterday we removed all the concrete, one dump truck load at a time. the dump truck and dump fees were more than anticipated. we probably ended up saving money over a dumpster, but we wasted a lot of labor time so, overall, it wasn't a very good plan and i blame myself for that because i was more of a penny pincher on this than meryl was. live and learn.
  • surprisingly, my back and foot held up very well during this process. only minor soreness came as a result of doing all that stuff so i'm happy about that.
  • next project is to build a cabinet for meryl's dad and stepmom. it'll be my first built-in and, while it's not ornate, it's not a simple box either.
  • oh, on my birthday meryl helped me at the alumni house to get the slate patio done. only had to jackhammer up one spot and used some old, salvaged slate on the rest of the spots. having her there really helped move the project along. now all i have to do is finish filling in the grout lines with topping compound. that'll take a couple hours and i can do it during the week since it doesn't make a lot of noise.
  • one cool thing about doing the dump truck yesterday was getting to drive a f750. pretty big truck, but fun once i got the hang of the different feel of the air brakes.
  • best friend john should be moving to sac in a couple weeks. that's good news.

  • 7/3/11 (13:09)

  • worked on breaking up the patio yesterday. first we cut into the concrete with the skilsaw and a diamond blade. i don't think that the scoring ended up helping much, but it certainly didn't hurt. then i went at it with an 8lb sledge hammer while meryl picked up the pieces and dumped them in the driveway. on occasion we would have to take a mattock to loosen up the edge of the work area and then get back to hammering and picking up. it went about as well as expected considering it was 82 and we were in the sun the entire time. we were both pretty sore afterwards and my hand hurts today from all the banging. "that's what she said."
  • today meryl has work so i've been cleaning up and getting little stuff done. tomorrow we're going to work on the slate at the alumni house, hopefully it's not too hot.
  • wednesday luke and claire are coming up to help us out. that'll be a big day. the plan is to rent a jackhammer and break up the entire patio into a grid so that using the sledgehammer will be a lot easier the following weekend. we'll also hopefully get the front gate put up.
  • next weekend we'll have sarah and eli on saturday (hope to get all the concrete broken up into smaller pieces and moved to the driveway, or thereabouts). then we'll have 3 of meryl's 4 parents on sunday and i hope to get all the dirt dug up (to a depth of 8-10" below the finished level) and put into the pergola bed on that day.
  • had some red vines a couple months ago and they were stale despite being recently purchased. wrote a letter to american licorice company in union city and got the letter below several weeks later. then a couple days after that i got a ups package with 3 pounds of licorice. yay.

  • 7/1/11 (18:02)

  • busy times as usual.
  • getting ready for the backyard project. set the remaining posts after work yesterday.
  • caught up on movie reviews today.
  • this weekend should be more outside work for the patio and then on monday i'll work on the patio at the alumni house. hope to finish with that damn slate once and for all. it'll be a good birthday present.

  • 4th of july in oakland is a two-three week event. before and after there are plenty of people testing out their fireworks. it's just insane, and mildly obnoxious.

    6/29/11 (19:12)

  • got the pergola wood delivered today. we're getting everything ready for our patio project which starts on the 9th. if you're reading this and you know where i live, then you're invited to come help us tear up the back and side patio. should be back breaking fun.
  • we decided that part of the back patio will be raised and have a pergola on it. this will also double as a space to put (hopefully) all of the dirt that we need to excavate where the pavers are going. the concrete will be disposed of off-site. set three of the six pergola posts and built the raised bed, so that was pretty good progress.

  • 6/23/11 (17:22)

  • went to the doctor today to check out my ankle. people at work said i should go so i followed their advice. the doctor literally told me nothing i hadn't already found out on the internet. i had self-diagnosed it as a level 2 sprain and she said the same, she said to keep doing the treatment i had been doing, etc. actually, she did give me a timeline of six weeks before i'd be back to normal. we'll see about that. i'm gunning for 2 weeks because i'm an indestructable teenager. did give me a referral to have it x-rayed as well as to get physical therapy which i may do even though i already know what exercises they're going to have me doing.
  • i just finished my itunes "checked and unrated" smart playlist. that means i've rated all the songs that are on my ipod. i started this project about two years ago and it's finally done. when i got the new computer i lost a few thousand songs worth of ratings so that extended the process. good to be done. last song i had to rate was tom waits' rain dogs. i gave it 3 stars. i still have 3318 songs to rate that aren't on the ipod. i'll do that next, but that'll go slower.
  • here's how things progressed:

  • june '10 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 '10 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

    january 2011 progress:
    stars # of songs % of total
    1 995 4.8
    2 12,082 58.7
    3 5,049 24.5
    4 1,638 7.9
    5 805 3.9
    20,569 55.4/37,102

    6/23/11, finished!:
    stars # of songs % of total
    1 1385 4.0
    2 20566 60.1
    3 8564 25.0
    4 2446 7.1
    5 1232 3.6

    6/19/11 (10:44)

  • worked yesterday for meryl's brother's company. meryl is the property manager of his company and they have a house in sf that is being rented to a few different people. there was an old staircase that was condemned by the city, so meryl and i took it down in order to save money for the company. i worked on an hourly basis, but i think i gotta bid this stuff out from now on. it was a fairly unsafe thing to do so for the amount of time/risk we put in it, the reward wasn't great. after we were done with it, i helped meryl bring some paint back to the property for the painter. as i was putting it in the laundry room (one and a half steps down a walkway without a door) i twisted my ankle and hurt my foot. this happened once before when playing basketball about 11-12 years ago. not fun. it's really swollen now and walking is a no go. it's ironic because the most dangerous thing we were doing that day was taking down a rickety old stair case that goes to the second level and it wasn't even anchored into concrete piers of any kind; it was just resting on grade. but with literally the last 5 gallon bucket of the day i hurt myself and am out of comission for a few days at least. it knew it was bad as soon as it happened. hearing a pop is never a good sign. ugh.
  • luckily it was the very last thing i had to do for the day and i had an ace bandage in my truck (i should have been a boy scout), so i wrapped it up quickly to help keep the swelling down. meryl drove us to the nearest gas station and i was icing it within 10 minutes. got home 30 minutes later and took some aleeve and iced it throughout the night. will rest all day today and start moving it around tomorrow so it doesn't heal too tightly. probably back to work on tuesday. meryl took good care of me yesterday, but i'm on my own today. maybe i'll watch a foreign movie or something.
  • only have two pictures of the shitty staircase. it went up to another unit that i guess they're not going to be renting any time soon. as stated, the four posts holding it up were not secured with simpson ties or even concreted into the ground. they were just resting on the ground with a couple toenails. very poor workmanship, which made the demo a bit hairy since you're making it less and less stable as you go and the highest point was probably 16 feet off the ground since it's right next to another stairway.

  • in other news, juan and his wife finished up with the exterior paint yesterday. i'm glad we did as much prep as we did and then handed it off to him. i don't think that the results would have been as good if we had him do everything and i don't think they would be as good if we did it all either. i'm probably best at painting and electrical, though i could keep up with a professional painter better than i could keep up with a pro electrician. so, it worked out that we basically had two crews take a couple swipes at prepping the house; and it needed it. they did a real good job and have a real pride in their work. he was real easy to deal with as well. solid guy and painter.

  • we also had the new front window installed on friday.

  • so, after we got home yesterday we painted it. i even got in on the fun despite my injury.

  • i have about 300 songs left to rate, which is good news. i still have 3k to go after that, but none of those are on the ipod. i've never been a big fan of projects that take longer than a day or two, but the last few years it seems that's all i've been doing. the slate project at work is always ongoing, the house and its various projects, rating all my songs, etc. i'm getting a little more patient as a result, but i'm still and impatient person.

  • 6/16/11 (22:03)

  • down to about 500 songs to rate. yay.
  • there's a real shortage of public heroes. guys like weiner and tiger woods and others really make it difficult to believe in anyone anymore.

  • 6/15/11 (17:12)

  • went to luke's yesterday to swap out his old garage subpanel. as the day went on we added more to the list of things to do. ended up adding two additional circuits on one wall and one on another. swapped out the old panel and put in the new one. swapped out a bad three way switch and called it a day.
  • busy busy busy.

  • 6/8/11 (18:43)

  • about 1,000 songs left to rate on the ipod. still have another 3,000 left on itunes to rate after that, but those are lower priority. the end is finally near. lost today's ratings (about 120 songs) because i plugged in the ipod, unplugged it and then plugged it back in without going through the proper steps. if i lost all my ratings data, i'd probably hunt down steve jobs and fucking tear him apart.

  • 6/7/11 (20:28)

  • exterior paint is making progress. should have it looking pretty presentable by the end of the week. took off half the downspouts today so that the painter could make it look good without having to mask them off. will reinstall after he's done.
  • dad is coming up this weekend. also will do more work on the slate patio at work this weekend.
  • also have a cabinet and shelving unit that i need to build for meryl's dad/stepmom sometime since i've been putting that off for a while.
  • lots going on these days as usual.
  • game four between miami and dallas is tied right now. before the series started i felt that miami was going to win. they have two of the big three categories that i look at in the nba playoffs: defense and superstars. the coaching advantage goes to the mavs. i figure that dirk can win two games for them and terry will need to win a third. who will step up to win the fourth? fact is that the mavs just don't have a big third guy. they can do it by committee, and that may happen, but it's not looking great right now. dirk's performance these playoffs has been as good as i can remember in a while. he's been unstoppable, though he did miss one notable shot in the last game (the chance to tie it at the top of the key).
  • meryl's brother's wedding was last weekend. it was a big production with events spanning a few days. weddings are funny because they bring together friends and family like only funerals do. they're also very much centered on two people so i don't think i'd ever want to be the subject of such an event. too much pressure and attention.
  • will upload new pics tonight.
  • also stopped by to see my grandma on the way back home. she's turning 75 so that's a good milestone.
  • next big project may end up being the exterior of the house - breaking up all the concrete, installing a pergola, and installing pavers or some sort of concrete driveway. after that is the second bathroom and the laundry room. from there on it's smaller projects. a little wiring, some painting, etc. nothing too huge. at that point it will be good to help others with their projects and visit the family a little more.
  • going to luke's next week to install a new electrical panel. should be a pretty simple job. may need to install a trough junction box, but other than that i don't see any issues coming up. it's just a matter of doing the work.
  • when we went to a house that meryl's dad was renting for his wedding related stay in san diego, i was looking around and thinking about doing all the different phases of construction. it struck me that the only thing i wouldn't mind doing from soup to nuts on a project that size is the wiring. i could do a little plumbing on one of the bathrooms or the exterior gas range, or i could build the pergola or maybe the forms part of the foundation or do the drywall/painting in one room. but only electrical is something that could keep my interest for an entire job in a moderate to large sized home.

  • 6/1/11 (17:56)

  • worked 10 hours on the slate project at the alumni house the other day. it's one of those neverending projects and the first picture below shows you part of the reason why. it's either settling or there's a root underneath that will continue to bring water up and force apart whatever patch i put there.

  • there's another portion that i tried to get to as well, but it turned out to be more than i could handle in a day. about 25 pieces popped up while i was replacing two pieces. turns out that there was a glue down patch done before and it didn't hold. so i had planned on fixing (grind off old glue, clean, let dry, apply new adhesive, affix) that yesterday, but it rained. the rain was no good for the two pieces i patched there so they popped up today as well. rain and cementitous products don't mix well for the first few days. forecast didn't say anything about rain on tuesday and i didn't have a tarp so i got kinda screwed on that one.
  • i've found a new adhesive for this stuff that i think will do well for this application. called the manufacturer and they said it should work well too. if it doesn't, though, then i'll have to progress to a thinset and be done with the damn thing. been avoiding thinset to date because of the building up and prospect of lippage.


    5/26/11 (19:27)

  • friend james is in town. he's the only friend i've kept from high school (actually junior high) and he's a great guy. first time he's been up here to see the house and all that so that's good. it's good to have good friends.
  • painting started on the house on wednesday.
  • next week is meryl's brother's wedding.

  • 5/21/11 (12:08)

  • going to meryl's mom's place to finish up a job there. should be quick and easy. famous last words.
  • on sunday meryl is running a half marathon so i'll be there to cheer her on.
  • got some crawlspace vents installed under the house in the back where we have standing water during the rainy season. hopefully that, along with some other measures we hope to implement next year, will solve our moisture issues.

  • 5/18/11 (10:07)

  • other than the commercial aspect, this is a cool series that follows movies to their original locations. they picked two of the three best films of all-time to start so they get a thumbs up from me.

  • 5/17/11 (18:51)

  • raining the last couple days which sucks donkey balls.
  • cracked front window finally cracked completely so i had it replaced today. been getting screwed on money lately. good thing money is worthless.
  • have to do a better job of remembering the wisdom of john wooden. the guy was better than jesus, less controversial, and less contradictory.
  • working on fixing sarah's computer. she's cursed or doing something wrong because she burns through computers pretty quickly. new motherboard, cpu, ram, power supply. hope to keep the hard drive. monitor is fine. first time i've built a computer in many years.

  • 5/11/11 (18:36)

  • got a lot of those little things done today.
  • the satellite cable isn't dangling in the wind anymore. now it snakes neatly along the underside of the gutter and down the corner until it disappears under the house.
  • i finally finished glazing all the windows.
  • finished repairing the front window sill on the turret. the sill had split and i needed to glue/screw it back on and then bondo/sand it to look good again.
  • i finished repairing the broken rafter tails on the garage.
  • i finished painting the trim on the garage.
  • i ordered a replacement sanding base plate for the 6" orbital sander.
  • i got itunes working.
  • i repaired a hole where our heater exhaust was located. for some reason, when they installed the heater they punched the exhaust through the house rather than extending the pvc pipe another 2-3 feet to where a crawl space vent was located. last week meryl cut together some pvc to extend the run to the vent. i cut a hole through the vent screen (which doesn't help hold up the house like our rim joist does) and the job was complete. except for the hole in the side of the house, which i fixed today.
  • also cleaned out the birdhouse. kind of a cool feature on the front of the house, but it had all sorts of bird nesting crap inside and it's 18' above the ground so it wasn't entirely fun cleaning it out. i'll add some shingles to its roof this weekend.
  • a productive day.

  • 5/11/11 (12:10)

  • trying to get all the little things done in preparation for the painting to begin.
  • had some major issues with itunes yesterday. the new update messed with the registry and that eliminated my dvd drive which made it impossible to burn cds. so i fixed the dvd issue by editing the registry, but then itunes still wouldn't burn a cd. had apple customer service call me and they said that it would be $29 to solve the problem or i could try to follow the directions on their support page. he (jake from indiana) also said that itunes couldn't have been the cause because it doesn't mess with the registry at all. i informed him that it was the only program i had changed in anyway and he said something must have updated because itunes doesn't edit the registry at all. biggest issue with all this is that i have 35,000+ songs and i have rated almost all of them at this point so i didn't want to lose any of that data. backed that data up and followed their instructions, but it was just to undo what i had done to get the dvd drive to work again so no dice there. so i reinstalled itunes using the "repair" option and now everything is back to normal. hmmm.

  • 5/9/11 (19:07)

  • fakers really stepped up and acted like the champions they are. it was great to see phil jackson at his best, kobe playing his heart out, odom and bynum playing classy basketball...odom is not much of a talent, but he really maximizes what little talent he has through grit, determination and hard work. bynum should be the sportsman of the year, not stephen curry. kobe has officially eclipsed michael jordan as the best player of my generation. phil jackson, meanwhile, showed what he can do with such meager talent and really coached the pants off of rick carlisle. amazingly competitive game and an inspiration to all to see the fakers step up and show true character.
  • in keeping with the theme of that post...itunes continues to stun me with their excellent, seamless, quick and effortless installations. an excellent product. they really should charge for that software. i also appreciate the weekly reminders to update to the latest software even though i've told them never to remind me again.
  • updated pictures last week.

  • 5/7/11 (09:36)

  • fakers showing their true colors in this series against dallas. kobe had 16 points in the biggest game of the playoffs for his team. great job of stepping up like the superstar he is. artest wasn't around to bail them out and bynum has "trust issues" so it's pretty fucking unlikely even the zen master himself can pull them out of this skid. hopefully they get swept and have a full on meltdown. we'll see.

  • 5/4/11 (17:37)

  • pretty warm today.
  • got a decent amount done on the house though. they measured for the front window replacement and we had the stucco guys out to patch up the spots that were left after the powerwashing we did.
  • also worked on the north side of the house and got several more windows glazed. more than halfway done with that side now so that's nice. still have some window rot repair to do though.
  • also worked on repairing the rafter tails on the garage while meryl finished painting the garage. i have trim to paint, but that's all and then the garage will be done.

  • 5/3/11 (17:44)
  • another stat about kobe in the clutch that meryl heard on pti - he is 28% in game tying or winning situations which is the same as the league average. so, you're better off just passing the ball to someone else who will likely be more open because kobe still has an aura of greatness. kinda like the stench left behind by a particularly hot and nasty crap.
  • fuck you john lennon, for being a shitty dad to your "other" son. what a crappy guy. hero my ass.

  • 5/2/11 (22:54)

  • when was the last time kobe "mr. closer" made a shot at the end of a game that actually mattered? today he bricked a shot that would have won the game against dallas. now dallas is up 1-0 and has home court advantage. last year he missed shots to close out the okc series and the phoenix series (gasol and artest cleaned up his trash to finish the games) and he was an absolute zero in game seven against boston (again, artest stepped up where kobe stepped down). whatever happens this year, kobe is no mj. he's lost his luster. he's not the closer people make him out to be. he's just another poser at this point who is a volume shooter. no big deal. give me nowitzki, wade, lebron over kobe any day of the week.
  • looking at the stats from this year, how does kobe close games? in the 4th quarter he shoots 3 more shots per 36 minute period than he does during the rest of the game. he also shoots 5% points worse than he does during the game as a whole. ok, how about from the 3 point line? 7% points worse in the 4th quarter than his average game. how about "in the clutch" - game within 5 points, with 5 minutes or less in remaining? kobe shoots the 3 about 3% points better, but turns the ball over more (4.1 vs. 3.1) and shoots 5% points worse from the field.
  • wade, on the other hand, turns the ball over less (3.0 vs. 2.3), and shoots 12% points better from the 3 (43% vs. 31% non-clutch times). so, kobe in the clutch: 4.1 turnovers, 40% from the field, 35% from beyond the arc. wade in the clutch: 2.3 turnovers, 40% from the field, 43% from beyond the arc.

  • 5/2/11 (17:52)

  • evidently we can't even agree that bin laden being killed is a good thing. right wing nutters are saying one of several things: he's not dead, obama timed his killing for political purposes, obama and bin laden were buddies so the whole thing is a fake, etc. left wing nutters are saying: we shouldn't have crossed into pakistan without written permission in triplicate and u.n. approval, we shouldn't have assasinated him, etc.
  • getting tired of the division in this country. don't know if it's always been like this and i didn't know about it or it's gotten worse or if the internet and media are making it seem worse than it really is or what.
  • allergies are getting me good today.

  • 5/1/11 (20:31)

  • we got that fucker osama bin laden today. took us 10 years and we still haven't rebuilt the towers, both of which are pathetic, but we got him.
  • if i were president i'd go on air and say to al qaeda: we got your leader and now we're done with you idiots. i'm more concerned about diarrhea and the flu (both of which kill more people in a year than you will in your group's life) than i am about you. you're inconsequential and irrelevant, a blip on the fucking screen of history. buh bye.

  • memphis is an underrated team. one of their best players is injured and yet they still found a way to knock off number one and are looking good against okc. tough team with some favorable matchups.

    4/29/11 (20:54)

  • hate this first and second round of the nfl draft during the week crap. like it more on the weekend when it's an all day event.
  • jake locker went 8 and the niners passed on him. we got kaepernick, though, so that might actually work out for us someday. locker is the best athlete of the group - fastest cone drill and 3rd fastest 40 time (tied with cam newton). newton was the classic over reach and will probably not amount to much, but you never know with that position. i have a little predictions document going and jake locker was one of the things on there. here were the predictions on jake locker's 40 time:  Chris – 4.6, Meryl – 4.52, Mark May (espn analyst) – 4.3. locker ended up running a 4.59 so i win the prize and mark may ends up looking like an idiot who bought someone's hype. 4.3 hype from taylor mays is one thing, but from jake locker it's another. he's fast, but not that fast.
  • so, porn is legal but prostitution isn't. they say that the act of filming it makes it art or whatever so then it's legal. so, why not open up an "art store" where you get to have sex with a prostitute and the whole thing is filmed from a security camera and you have the option of buying the video afterwards. there, now brothels are legal in california. you can thank me later.

  • 4/26/11 (17:42)

  • going to dentist for the first time in a couple years tomorrow. will probably have a couple fillings. blah.
  • still in the midst of the disney film marathon. trying to watch all 50 feature length animated features. seen fewer than half so far. i stopped watching them after lion king came out ,except for princess and the frog and tangled.
  • surprised new orleans was able to even the series against the fakers. chris paul is a great player surrounded by mediocrity so evening the series is a real accomplishment. that said, they're still doomed to lose to the fakers 2 out of the next 3 games.
  • it's going to be real interesting over the next 10-20 years to see how all this fiscal stuff settles out. as a country we don't have much fiscal responsibility, but it seems like it's a major talking point now so i guess that's the first step. unfortunately both sides are still up to their usual games so the discussion isn't making real progress. long story short, i think this situation is going to radically change how people think about the government. even uninformed and unengaged people are becoming aware of the fiscal problems we have. unfortunately they're not nearly well informed enough to know that defunding planned parenthood, npr and foreign aid is going to do basically nothing to solve the problem. eventually we might have a serious discussion about the role of the federal government, how much we want social security and medicare, how much we want the military to continue to grow, etc. hopefully we'll get to the point where we start investing in our human and natural resources again like we did under fdr. now we're $14 trillion in debt ($15 trillion by the time you read this), but we don't have a vastly improved infrastructure with things like modern day: hoover dams, tva, increased national park infrastructure, interstate highway system (eisenhower), etc. nor do we have tens of thousands of young men who were part of the ccc who earned their keep, sent money home, kept busy while times were tough, and were already partially trained for world war 2. our human resources are a sham at this point. we have a lot of banking and corporate profit and a small percentage of the population that is really good as esoteric tasks, while the rest of the country is good at serving others and doesn't actually make much of anything. we're still living off the investments we made at our economic height and we're finally paying for the bad decisions we made in the more recent past.
  • i wish we had allowed the government to actually shutdown during the last budget showdown. no more mail service, no passports, no social security and medicare checks, etc. then we could at least see how much the government does and determine how much of that is good, bad, or indifferent. if the "government shuts down" and people don't get their passports on time then it's not such a big deal, but when everyone who relies on a federal govt. paycheck goes without for a couple weeks, it's a different story.
  • the pendulum is swinging and it's going to be a fun ride.

  • 4/21/11 (18:43)

  • saw johnny have his exit talk today. talked for 30 minutes or so about the last several years of his life which has been primarily characterized by his research at the west washmawapta glacier (the one i went to help him do work on for a couple weeks). good to see the culmination of all that work. makes me realize how little i've done in my life as far as leaving a lasting impression on the world. good for him, i'm sure his work will be studied for many years go come. onto the next chapter i suppose.
  • fakers will no doubt cruise to victory in the hornets series. tied 1-1 and going to new orleans, but the hornets are outmatched and without their second best player.
  • a lot more work on the north side of the house than i remember. lots of glazing to do. i'll be doing that most of saturday. sunday i'm working at alumni house to get some more slate repaired. hopefully only have about 2-3 more days of that to be 100% done. until more pops up of course. maybe i'll take some pictures this time around. it's unfun work, but very satisfying once it's done.

  • 4/19/11 (16:54)

  • thought about this the other day and here's about as well as i can put it. i don't like chelsea handler and here is why: she has a choice to be either a jon stewart or joan rivers. she's chosen joan rivers and, for joan rivers, who is not terribly bright or good, that is fine, but for chelsea handler it's a waste.

  • 4/15/11 (19:28)

  • will continue work on the front of the house and paint prep this weekend. glazing windows is part art and part skill. had some practice with a couple windows on the garage, and have about 25 panes of glass to do up front so i should be pretty decent at it after this job is done.
  • try to buy this song by lil wayne. can't find it on his website, wikipedia and google say it's on the carter 3 but it isn't. it's not on itunes, it's not on amazon. it's been on youtube for 3 years, but it's nowhere to be found for legitimate purchase. not that i would buy it, but i found this interesting because it's a catchy song that i've heard before, but it basically doesn't exist other than on youtube and maybe some illegal torrents.

  • 4/12/11 (19:58)

  • met with stucco and painting contractors the last couple days about tackling the exterior paint project. still plenty of prep stuff that we need to do. hoping to get a new front window, reglaze a bunch of the windows in the turret, etc.

  • 4/11/11 (07:20)

  • got some exterior paint prep done this weekend. hard work, but the worst is behind us.

  • 4/7/11 (16:03)

  • these guys just get better all the time.

  • 4/6/11 (10:48)

  • 6200 songs left to rate.
  • next project around the house is prepping the house for exterior paint. we have a lot of little things to do on that front and none of them are very exciting.

  • 4/3/11 (15:35)

  • got some little projects around the house checked off the list. ran a new internet cable from the router to my desk so i don't have to fiddle with the wireless crap, which had thwarted me with this new router. also finished a couple projects in meryl's office and insulated under the bathtub which is a less known area of heat loss.

  • 4/3/11 (09:51)

  • went to wondercon yesterday. first time doing that so it was a good experience. the soup nazi, lou ferrigno and sara jean underwood (playmate) were there. hadn't heard of underwood until luke told me about her. interesting to see a person like that in real life because she didn't look all that amazing in person, but if you do a google search for her, she looks nice. i guess she photographs well, which until now was something i didn't believe to be a real phenomenon. the soup nazi was a highlight for me. he sells $20 ladles that say "no soup for you" on them and have his signature. pretty funny that all these third rate celebrities were there (the body double from psycho, for example) signing photos and basically just making a living off of being marginally famous. then there were all the nerds who dressed up as different comic book and movie characters, including the girls who seized it as an opportunity to dress in as skimpy an outfit as possible. it's like halloween.
  • also watched the games which were pretty good. uconn winning cemented my place atop our bracket pool so i win $100 for that. vcu losing knocked me out of the pool at work, though. i'll be rooting for butler which looks like a well-balanced and better coached team. vcu and butler were both the best coached teams in the tourney in my opinion. vcu reminded me a bit of uab when they made a run or two to the sweet 16 a few years back.

  • 4/1/11 (19:04)

  • david stern continues to be the worst commisioner in the history of sports. he's shysty and a cancer on the great game of basketball. honestly, if the guy died tomorrow i'd be a happier person.

  • 3/31/11 (18:04)

  • so why is mj sporting a hitler mustache these days?
  • had a headache the last two days. almost never get headaches. trying to get hydrated since that's probably what it was.
  • finally finished the fence project yesterday. that was a learning experience. big project. having the paint sprayer really paid off because we were able to give it two coats in just a few hours. think it was 140 linear feet and all but about 30 feet of that needed to be painted on both sides.

  • a couple shots from the back yard:

    a shot from the front

    demo begins:

    layout begins:

    digging begins

    posts going in

    sealing the wood

    getting creative with one post that fell between several roots

    assembly begins

    assembly continues, finishing stages

    priming begins

    finishing coats

    3/29/11 (18:27)

  • not much to say.

  • 3/28/11 (19:50)
  • tied for first in the march madness bracket. if uconn wins then i win it all. if not, then it comes down to final score and i lose. for some reason i picked the final score as 115, which is awfully low. if i was thinking about it at all i would have gone with 130-140, but i evidently wasn't thinking.
  • obama's speech tonight was a good one. his speeches are typically quite good and convincing. unfortunately his actions leave a lot to be desired. he's not doing a good job with either side right now, at least in my observations in talking with people. i've not found a single person who characterizes themself as happy with him so far. that said, i also get the impression that people would give him a second chance if he were to be up for reelection right now. ron paul gets more traction because his idea that the fed is to blame for everything appeals to a lot of people. i don't pretend to understand all this stuff, but i really doubt that getting rid of the fed or going to the gold standard is going to fix a lot or all of the problems we face. it would be great to know how things would pan out if each ideology got to do exactly what they wanted to do.

  • 3/23/11 (18:01)

  • according to the comcast tech who came out and fixed our problem last week, comcast was somewhat infamous for their bad customer service in the past. so far in my experience with them, they've been really good and even better than at&t which ran a new phone line at no charge for us when we were having internet problems with them. their techs have been out three times and were late once (and it was a contractor who does work for comcast). they do a good job of communicating their eta and following up on service calls. their over the phone service is also good (24/7 support). so, good for them for identifying the problem and fixing it. maybe we can find out who was responsible for this turn around and hire them to run the dmv.
  • in other good news - i finally got the remastered copy of paul's boutique. it's one of those albums that needed a remastering. low volume and some other problems. best of the doors and metallica's ...and justice for all also fit into that category. whoever produced ...and justice for all should probably be shot. at any rate, they split up the b-boy bouillabaisse which is pretty cool (though i had done that myself several years ago). it's originally a 12+ minute song and now it's 9 shorter tracks as one medley. one of those holdovers from the cassette/record era when tracks weren't divided so stringently. bass kicks more and the volume level is much more in line with the rest of the albums in the world. it also comes with a commentary download, which is them just talking about stories surrounding the recording of the album. yay.
  • for those keeping track, that means i now have six copies of this record. two on vinyl (one to listen to and one sealed), one of the regular cd, one imported copy of the cd, one of the paul's boutique demos and now the remastered copy.
  • haven't been getting much done around the house lately. sean and i cleaned up a bit in the backyard. hampered by the weather lately. also between projects at the moment.

  • 3/21/11 (19:10)

  • dropped sean off at the train station about an hour ago. it was a pretty good visit. he still has trouble remembering things and lacks basic social skills. bought him a little notepad so he can write things on it that he should remember. so we made a couple lists of things like house rules, things we did over the weekend, foods he likes, etc. funny kid. hanging out with him definitely gives me a different perspective on my everday life.
  • why is it that updating itunes is a 45 minute long process? why do they bug you to update it every other day? because apple is run by fascists.
  • going to try to lose a few pounds this year. basically gained about 3 pounds a year for the last 12 years or so. not so bad because i was about 10 pounds underweight to begin, but now i'm only about 15 away from being overweight so it's probably about time to actually pay attention to that stuff.
  • dad gave me his movies book that has all the movies he's seen in the theater since 1993. i'm transcribing them to an excel file. it'll actually give me a good idea of some of the films i've seen as well since it includes many of the films i saw before keeping track in late 1999. unfortunately, they're just films from the theater and there's not much data between 1997 (when i left for college) and late 1999 (when i started keeping accurate data). it includes 2010's data which is important because he saw 410 movies in the theater that year.

  • 3/19/11 (10:37)

  • been cruising the internet a lot more the last several months finding all the stupid and funny stuff it has to offer and following different memes. it's a crazy world out there. here are couple recent ones:
  • friday
  • bike
  • skiing

  • 3/17/11 (20:57)

  • crappy beginning to the tourney this year. they have all the games available now, which is great, but that also means they don't feel it's necessary to cut away to the games that have an exciting finish. since i, and many others, watch the games on a delay, this is a problem. also, the first round play-in games are a fucking joke. ucla dodged a bullet today by barely beating michigan state after being up by 23. pathetic. i think i had them in the elite 8.
  • have i mentioned the idea of giving tickets to jaywalkers in berkeley so you don't have to raise the parking tickets every few months? jaywalking leads to more human suffering than parking in a spot for more than 2 hours. do i really have to point this stuff out?
  • how about selling lactase pills at ice cream parlors? been to as many ice cream places as anyone else i've ever known and never seen a place that does it. great idea. $.40 a pill and you get a sale that you wouldn't have gotten otherwise. places should do this.

  • 3/16/11 (17:36)

  • had a long series of discussions with the peoples republic of berserkeley today. long story short i owe them $123 for a $43 ticket i shouldn't have gotten in the first place. sent two letters to them trying to contest and no dice. too late, blah blah blah. ultimately they can do whatever they want. most of the underlings were quite useless, the one supervisor i spoke with seemed nice. she also played the game well. saying she wanted to help me, etc. but kept saying that she couldn't do anything and then waited for me to respond. i'd restate my case and this continued. the tactic is a classic one employed by homeowners when dealing with contractors. they say "i'd love to do this project, but the price...it's just so much." followed by silence, at which point the contractor is supposed to feel uncomfortable and say "well, i can work with you on this by giving you a discount here and there." at any rate, it's the cost of doing business in a place that so many other people are doing business. modernity is great.
  • classy guy. counterpoint: Jalen Rose clearly states that these were his feelings when he was a FRESHMAN at Michigan. He also states that the reason these feelings came about were because he was JEALOUS of Grant Hill's family situation. The adult Jalen Rose admitted that he had immature feelings as a kid and also recognized, as an adult, that they were not justified in truth! I'm glad Mr. Hill is defending himself and his teammates, but Mr. Rose made it clear that he doesn't believe the same things that he thought as an 18-year-old kid now that he is a grown man who has a lifetime of new experiences.
  • would like to see the documentary as the fab five played prominently in my life in a way. they were perhaps the first in a long line of following sports and being gravely disappointed. i was in hawaii on my paternal grandpa's dime and we watched the game. he knew nothing about basketball, but liked to gamble so he said he'd bet $20 against whatever team i liked. kind of a dickish move in itself, but whatever. i bet on michigan and he bet on unc. long story short michigan didn't do so great and the game ended quite infamously and in heartbreaking fashion. at one point in the game, however, unc was up and my grandpa said to me "looks like my niggers are doing better than yours." it was that day that i lost $20 and a grandpa. i was a chris webber fan for years afterwards; he was a misunderstood guy in a lot of ways. got heat for that bonehead moment as well as taking money from boosters while at michigan. of course he was also the best player on the kings when they had their glory days. always felt bad for the guy more than anything else. felt like our fates were sort of tied together in a way because of what we both went through because of that game.

  • 3/15/11 (17:51)

  • less than 8k songs left to rate on the ipod.
  • still trying to get the router setup now that we're with comcast. not sure why this stuff is so difficult.

  • 3/10/11 (18:59)

  • meryl's still sick, but getting better.
  • going to johnny's this weekend to install a water heater and visit the guys. hopefully get some wiring done in luke's garage too. that would be fun.
  • saw this guy's vehicle in berkeley the other day. what a nut.

  • 3/8/11 (17:26)

  • some ideas:
  • a website for people to report bad drivers. it could be either serious or not. you get cut off by a psychotic in a scion xb with license plate 6PLT718 then you go on the website and report it with a comment like: you, sir, are psychotic and shouldn't be allowed on the road. why did you flick me off?
  • pothole app for the iphone or whatever. you see a pothole, you tell your app where it was (gps tracking can pinpoint it) and then you submit this info to the city jurisdiction. it's very easy for the city to implement this: get a computer science intern from a local college to write an app and install it on their system. citizens download it for free and it generates emails, faxes, print-outs, whatever for the city on the other end. this could easily get done in 2-3 months, soup to nuts. i can pretty much guarantee, though, that it won't happen anywhere in this country for another year or more because they haven't come up with the idea and/or lack the ability or desire to implement it in a reasonable timeline.
  • stop saying joe namath was a good qb. his stats prove otherwise. he had one above average game and has made a killing ever since. he's a drunk idiot and a piss poor football player. congratulations, you led the league in interceptions 4 times and tds 1 time. you had more tds than ints 2 times in your career and a career qb rating of 65.5 which makes you good enough to be the 3rd string qb on some teams today and 14 points lower than elvis grbac and 10 points lower than steve bono (remember them?).
  • how about a charlie sheen translator? you type in something like "do you want to go out to dinner tonight?" and it spits out something stupid like "my monkey spirit is summoning the goddess Hestia from afar, will you come. of course you will." could be good for a few quick bucks if it goes viral.

  • 3/6/11 (16:47)

  • worked at meryl's dad's this weekend. had planned on finishing the fence and then priming/painting it, but rain thwarted the painting portion of that. we did finish the assembly of the gate and the door and the top cap; a very labor and lumber intensive fence. pictures to come later.
  • we also worked on the area that used to be a fireplace insert. it's now where the tv resides and we finished the mudding and sprayed some texture. i think we did a decent job of blending the textures and when meryl paints i told her to use a 3/4" nap roller to blend everything together even more. there was a lot of patching to do because we exposed the header and jack studs so we could remove the jack studs, insert a simpson hh4, and gain 3" of extra space for the tv in the process. it was a lot of work for such a small amount of space, but it helps a lot because the tv isn't obstructed now.
  • we also installed a small bit of trim around a bread box corner in the kitchen. i had previously cut it higher to make way for the new granite installation. since there needed to be wiggle room for the granite, though, the cut had to be higher than the finished surface of the granite so we installed bit of shoe molding to hide that.
  • next time we go out there we'll spray the fence and we'll be all done.
  • back is feeling mostl better now.

  • 3/4/11 (8:29)

  • supposed to get comcast internet this morning. we'll see if that happens.
  • this weekend we hope to finish meryl's parents' fence and tv nook. it's supposed to rain, however, so i'm not sure of the likelihood of those projects both getting finished.
  • hurt my back a couple days ago and am still recovering. not real bad, but bad enough to be stiff and somewhat worthless. been trying to rest.

  • well, comcast guy came and went. turns out we need the modem on hand for him to complete his installation. modem is on order and tracking info says it will be here today. not early enough, though, so we'll have to wait until next week. didn't think they needed it because at&t just has you do that part yourself. my bad.

    2/25/11 (16:53)

  • hope to finish up meryl's room this weekend. have some shelving to build and trim to finish up.
  • looking forward to the oscars. smart money seems to be on king's speech, but i like social network to take the prize. i think it's a more memorable film in the long run, though the academy likes stuffy british stuff for some reason.
  • if i were rich one of the things i'd do is hire a reference librarian or the like to do my bidding. so, i had a question today about the tax structure in the u.s. that would probably require a good amount of research. i know at one point the taxes on the rich were something like 90%, now they're like a third of that. at the same time we have taxes on things like tobacco that weren't taxed before. i would like a report on federal and state (CA) tax structures over the course of the last 120 years. that way i could see how the feds made their money before the income tax and during it. in down times as well as good times. the same for the state. california is too reliant on home prices for much of its tax revenue, how has that shifted over time? so many questions, so little time.
  • so, if i were rich i'd have all sorts of questions like that and i'd have various assistants find the answers or conduct studies or polls to figure out all the things that i'm curious about. it would be really awesome.
  • the other thing i'd like to have if i were rich would be a chef. i hate cooking and that would be a great luxury.
  • city of berkeley is shafting me on a ticket. i filed an appeal and i guess they never got it so now i have to pay $123 instead of $43. wrote them another letter, we'll see what happens. hate the city of berkeley.
  • ucb's basketball team is facing some probation and limits on recruiting because of violations. the ncaa just picks a few schools every year to investigate and most of them are probably corrupt in some way if they're at all successful, then they slap them on the wrist to keep everyone in line. i hate the ncaa.
  • according to the weather experts it's going to snow in oakland this weekend. i'll believe it when i see it. maybe in the hills they'll have a little, but i doubt we'll have anything of note at our house.  weathermen are a joke.

  • 2/21/11 (18:38)

  • structural engineering is pretty interesting to me and i wish they offered an intro class at laney that doesn't use a lot of math.
  • was at yogurt park the other day getting a frozen yogurt and the girl behind the counter was telling her friend about a date she went on. here's what she revealed: the guy was really nice, the guy was short, the guy is really into her. she's not interested in the guy. i found it a sad commentary on young women. guys do the same thing in a different way.

  • 2/17/11 (17:16)

  • have fewer than 10,000 checked songs to rate in my itunes library now. total unrated still is around 15k, but less than 50% at this point. that's good news.

  • 2/15/11 (17:10)

  • been talking to some tea party people online lately and it's more or less like hitting your head up against the wall. there's no way most of them will ever trust obama so they're all just going to ride things out until he's gone. one day we'll either fail as a country or figure out that we can actually get shit done if we're willing to work together.

  • 2/14/11 (17:28)

  • spent this weekend and friday at meryl's dad's/stepmom's place working on a new fence. actually, it's an extension of an existing fence that defines their back/front yard. they're taking away sf from their front yard and incorporating it into the backyard. we hoped it would get done in three days, but i think we still have another two to go including painting. there were multiple obstacles from getting a definite plan to problems with the two person auger to sprinkler lines and drainage lines and roots. getting the layout on a straight line was also a challenge and i'm not sure why we weren't able to achieve better results. part of the problem is the 6x6 posts which amplify inaccuracy in layout. another part of the problem was the unwieldy nature of the auger which had a tendency to drift off course. another part of the problem was not double-checking measurements when setting posts. lots of lessons learned since it's the biggest fence project i've worked on before. our side fence project went well, though a last minute hitch in the layout made for a design choice that i ended up regretting.
  • work at home has stalled somewhat while we wait for the carpet installation. we need to finish with the trim around the window and also paint the room, but it's primed and otherwise pretty much ready for carpeting. after that we can build the shelving that meryl designed and be done with it.
  • next project after meryl's office is the bathroom. that will be a big one. multiple months. have to level the floor, install a pocket door, build a wall, install a shower enclosure, drywall, tile, paint, install fixtures, plumbing, electrical...all the good stuff.
  • gabriel over the white house is finally available on dvd. must see film.

  • 2/7/11 (17:41)

  • superbowl was pretty good. didn't go as i expected (i thought the steelers would win, and i certainly didn't foresee 3 turnovers). what was amazing is that there have been 35 out of 45 superbowls where one team turned the ball over 3+ times. that's ridiculous. evidently the team forcing 3+ turnovers is now 31-4. packers offense wasn't real impressive, but they took advantage of the mistakes. biggest play in my opinion was the fumble forced by clay matthews.
  • one great commercial and one really funny commercial debuted.
  • got a lot done around the house yesterday. did lots of little things like cleaning up and clearing out and organizing.
  • worked on trim and texture on saturday while meryl was out. almost done with the window. will wait to do the baseboard until after the carpet is down.

  • 2/1/11 (17:47)

  • been doing real well on the animal room. ordered carpet. they'll come tomorrow to measure and then hopefully install soon afterwards (though we think it's going to be a week or two because it's a special order item).
  • updated the pictures page. should be finished uploading sometime tonight.
  • completed 1,033 pushups in 7 days in tribute to jack lalanne. the most difficult part of it was remembering to do them. really didn't get sore at all which is actually pretty surprising since i had to do about 145/day.
  • oftentimes the most conservative among us are the most vocal about family values. i think that most of them would gladly help their brother/sister if they were down on their luck, however they wouldn't do the same for a stranger. so, really, they just have a different definition of family. it's not that they're opposed to helping others, it's just that they only want to help their close family members.
  • i'm not sure how it is in other countries, but there seems to be a significant minority of americans who are vehemently anti-left, anti-obama, anti-republican, etc. i think it manifests itself differently from those on the left, but both extremes are part of the problem. it would be lovely if we could have a serious conversation about the issues that plague the country, but we're not there because the media is inept and the taste of the american public is in the gutter. until we can have honest conversations using facts and historical evidence i don't think things are going to get much better.
  • what my generation needs is someone in charge who can lead with purpose and vision. someone who can give us a destiny. right now it honestly seems like there's not a lot of direction to all this energy. that was the brilliant thing about world war 2 - we pretty much were all on the same page. i'm not saying it was all good - there were things like manzanar and idiotic propaganda like "loose lips sink ships" that fed a slightly paranoid/racist undercurrent of emotion. but on the whole we were fighting a common (and worthy) enemy. it got our shit together for us. what would really be great would be an alien invasion to bring us together; preferably one we can win. short of that i think humanity is in store for a significant population correction in the next 100 years.

  • nice site on the california budget that does a good job of providing the information in a relatively straight forward manner.

    1/29/11 (08:11)

  • here's the mp3 rating project progress. i've rated over 50% of the songs i have which is pretty good. unfortunately i also have added over 2,000 songs since i started doing this so i'm digging a hole and filling it back up at the same time.

  • june 2010 progress:
    stars # of songs % of total
    1 481 5.5
    2 4,979 57.8
    3 2,098 24.3
    4 691 7.7
    5 361 4.1
    8,610 24.9/34,578

    october 2010 progress:
    stars # of songs % of total
    1 790 5.6
    2 8,064 57.6
    3 3,387 24.2
    4 1,180 8.4
    5 586 4.2
    14007 38.3/36,571

    january 2011 progress:
    stars # of songs % of total
    1 995 4.8
    2 12,082 58.7
    3 5,049 24.5
    4 1,638 7.9
    5 805 3.9
    20,569 55.4/37,102

    1/25/11 (17:34)

  • making good progress around the house. stucco should start tomorrow. we're paying four times as much as rafael quoted us, but this guy appears to be a lot better at waterproofing and speaks english and is licensed so you get what you pay for i suppose. we'll see how it goes.
  • we took out the floor in the bathroom and we'll redo it. i think it'll be easier than having to work around their b.s. attempt at levelling the room. one thing i've learned is that it's usually easier to spend more time on demo than it is to try to salvage things. just gut it and start over; it'll work out better in the long run.
  • finding that i don't have a heck of a lot of time these days for hobbies and stuff. after work and working on the house i basically just have time to veg out. need to get this together so i don't become brain dead at age 40.
  • got a new ipod the other day. works better than the old one and is thinner and lighter, but the battery life isn't as good. not sure what the obsession is with getting things smaller. i'd rather have more space and battery life, than to decrease the thickness from 3/8" to 1/4" or whatever it is. then again, i generally like things that are useful more than pretty so i'm in the minority.
  • found an african rapper called k16 online somewhere and have been enjoying his (?only?) album. this is one of those great things about the internet. so is this.
  • jack lalanne died which is too bad. i'm trying to do 1,033 pushups in the next 7 days in his honor. he did 1,033 in 23 minutes at age 42 so i figure i should be able to do that many in a week. only did 75 yesterday, but that was more a result of bad memory than fatigue or anything else.
  • got two tickets today. it was a banner day. need to find someone to say that they'll carpool with me and then i'll get a discounted rate on the parking permits. since i have a yellow truck now and berkeley seems to be targeting me and berkeley has raised their rates, the economics of my current arrangement cease to make sense. ergo, i shall pursue alternative options.
  • got 8/10 on the nfl pick'em group. shoulda gone to vegas with that shit.

  • 1/19/11 (18:10)

  • figured out how to convert youtube videos to mp3. this is great news.
  • been getting a lot of good music off a russian guy's website. guess he owns a record store over there and he records a bunch of stuff to mp3. mostly easy listening stuff which i normally don't like, but found a good amount of quality stuff nonetheless. i'm beefing up on communist music from russia and china as well as plenty of jewish folk music. also found hugo strasser's cover of black sabbath's paranoid and it's freaking great.
  • if anyone can find the planes, trains, and automobiles soundtrack i'd appreciate it.
  • also been listening to a lot of neil young, especially while working on the house.
  • did a skim coat on the stucco wall inside the animal room. it's stucco because it used to be an exterior wall. bought some plaster-weld (for really cheap) and did a first coat of joint compount today.

  • 1/16/11 (17:09)

  • been working on putting together a top ten films of all-time according to all my family members. that'll be coming soon.
  • got a decent amount done this weekend. dad came up on saturday so we didn't get as much done yesterday, but today i think we made up for lost time. got the subfloor down in the new office and it's pretty close to level now so that's good. also roughed-in most of the electrical (new circuit for water heater/bathroom, extended existing circuit for office, and extended circuit for lighting) and finished the structural stuff. we're getting pretty close to being ready for insulation and drywall. we'll wait for those, though, because we want to get the stucco done before we close the inside of the wall.
  • met with one contractor yesterday about doing the stucco work. hope to get a couple other bids as well.
  • doing pretty well in my predictions of the nfl playoff games so far. luke put together a pick'em league and calling the jets upset has proven the difference for me so far.

  • 1/14/11 (22:44)

  • got robbed again the other day. that's about once a year for me since i've been in the bay area. this time they got my ipod out of my truck (which was unlocked because i was busy unloading a new door and forgot). so, i bought a new one and it's smaller, but has the same capacity. $230 plus the change in the cup holder down the drain. getting robbed and getting almost $900 in parking tickets a year is the cost of doing business around here. i guess i'm just supposed to accept it as a way of life in the greatest place in the world.
  • thankfully i sync my ipod pretty regularly so i only lost about 300 song ratings. could have been worse. if i ever have to start that project over again i think i'll shoot someone. i blame it all on jean quan.
  • speaking of which. people are up in arms over the jerry brown budget. if you voted for the guy, what did you expect? i voted for him in part because he made it abundantly clear that we were going to be in for some rough times. he didn't sugar coat it. he didn't touch k-12 (the single most important issue in any industrialized nation in my opinion), but everything else was cut. fine by me. tough times call for tough measures. hopefully we have a couple million people leave the state as a result of this lean time we're going through. that would be just about the best thing i could imagine.
  • syncing up the new ipod now. should be back up and running tomorrow. since i got the new 160gb classic it should be more responsive than the previous version.
  • liked jon stewart's take on the arizona shooting and the media fallout. they're a bunch of savages of course. hannity was talking about how duplicitous the left is because he found some shit on the internet that said the only dope worth shooting is bush and had a bullseye over a picture of sarah palin, etc. and of course the leftists are blaming the anti-immigration laws in az or the sarah palin map with targets in key political areas. both extremes are full of assholes and one of these days people might wise up and get tired of the inmates running the asylum.

  • 1/10/11 (17:26)

  • repaired all the rot under the animal room and reframed that entire space. just need to flash the window opening and install the window. shouldn't take very long. then it's onto the framing for the bathroom. there's some rot there that we have to address as well as reframing the opening for the new window, which will be bigger than the old one.
  • big game tonight. oregon only scored 17 against osu last year in the rose bowl. is their offense that much better this year? osu's defense is better than auburn's, too. should be a good game. i had the tie break score at 81. the experts have the over/under at something like 74 so i'm only a touchdown over. 81 seems real high to me, though, the more i think about it. that said, the reason i'm tied for first place in the bowl pool is because i tried not to think about it too much. if the combined score is 65 or more then i win. if not then i get second place and still make $10.
  • rearranged the bedroom last night. needed reconfiguring because of the entrance to the bathroom which we'll put in after the rest of the framing in the bathroom is done. hopefully we can get all that completed this weekend.
  • chancellor of ucb basically blamed the arizona shooting on the arizona anti-immigration bill. he essentially said that he didn't feel it was a coincidence that it happened in a state that was so hateful as to racially profile illegals. think he went out on a big limb with that one. heard a lot of people in the last few days talking about the sarah palins and glenn beck's and how they may or may not have contributed to this. frankly it seems contrary to their point to play the blame game, though i understand where they're coming from. i kinda think that if we can't get it together as a society enough to take care of our mentally ill then we sorta deserve what we have coming. if people are so easily swayed by morons like beck or guys like olberman saying that o'reilly is the worst person in the world, then that's just a weakness we have as a species. either lift those people up or get dragged down by them.
  • just got the results for my nabcep test and i passed. pretty good news. means i have one more notch in my belt should i decide to become a solar installer some day.

  • 1/5/11 (21:53)

  • had planned on working on the structure for the back of the house today, but that didn't work out. worked on it briefly and then came to the conclusion that moving the piping that goes to the hot water heater was going to be the best way to get the framing right. so we made that the priority for the day. thankfully we got that done before the end of the day so we have hot water again. had to move the water supply, the outgoing hot water and the gas supply. going to likely replumb most of the underside of the addition at some point because it's an inelegant mess right now. hopefully by the end of the weekend we'll have the sheathing up, the new big window up and the new bathroom window ordered.

  • 1/3/11 (17:47)

  • have to go back to work tomorrow which is too bad because there's a lot of framing and sheathing that needs to be done in order for the addition project to get to a point where it is reasonably weathertight. got some tarps up for now, hopefully it doesn't rain much in the interim. forcast says clear skies for the rest of the week and we'll be working on it on wednesday so hopefully we can get the big window in and some sheathing up in that time. making good time so far. the early stages generally seem to go quicker, but that's also because the nature of framing is such that you can get a lot of visual impact for the same amount of time when compared to tiling prep or wiring or plumbing.

  • 1/1/11 (10:54)

  • well, we finished the foyer, kitchen and bathroom by the end of the year. today is a no work day for our house. we'll be going to meryl's dad's to install a big entryway light with him, but that's all.
  • yesterday we did most of the demo on the other bathroom and the little addition room. probably another half day of demo in those rooms to clean everything up. the biggest challenged is probably going to be the framing to get everything level, plumb and square-ish and to restructure a lot of the parts that are rotten.
  • washington won yeserday which was exciting. i thought they had a chance, but expected them to lose. i definitely gave them better odds than arizona who i felt was overrated all year. big 12 and sec have been showing their true colors this year, but that doesn't mean anyone will change their opinion next year about the sec being the best conference in the country; especially if auburn beats oregon in which case they'll just point out that the sec has won the last 5/6 national championships or whatever.

  • for the next day or two i'm going to work on all the end of year stuff like the full year page, the top ten list, the stats page, etc.