zoe's first xmas was pretty
bad. my mom, sister, and eli came over so that was fine, but after they
left zoe was cranky pretty much all day. we suspect that she was teething,
but nothing seemed to help, not even orajel.
overall, zoe seems like
a very happy little kid so that's good.
ordered a new keyboard.
had xmas off which was
nice. i'm off the alumni house from 12/24-1/1, but i'm going in there tomorrow
and other handyman things have been coming up. neighbor with an electrical
issue, property manager with a tenant who couldn't find his electrical
panel, and a prospective client with a host of small and large projects.
that last one could be interesting. she has a flip house that she moved
into and the old contractor didn't do a very good job so there is a lot
of fixing his mistakes. plus, now that she's planning on living there she
wants to do some larger projects that weren't originally on her list. she
works 70 hours a week, though, so she wants us to manage these projects.
assuming we get the job, we'd essentially be acting like general contractors,
but not technically.
just attempted to fix my
keyboard so maybe i'll cancel that order.
watched a decent number
of movies this month, but it didn't make up for the rest of the year which
was pretty awful.
zoe started the bowl season
off 4-0. meryl and i were both 2-2. we placed two index cards in front
of her. one for home and one for away. she would reach for a card and that
would be her pick. we changed their position every once in a while to make
sure she wasn't just going for the same side everytime. she made a couple
questionable picks, but overall i think she did a good job for her first
usc had a good win against
an overrated fsu team. i hope that coach o comes back in some capacity
next season. frankly, i think washington got the better part of the deal
since they have chris peterson now.
ok, canceled keyboard order.
the fix seems to have worked. i just cut some paper down and put it between
the contact and the key and that extra shim seems to have done the trick.
one thing i find with economic
conservatives is that they tend to deify the market. the pope actually
has made this comment about society. this guy is easily the best pope of
my lifetime from what i gather so far. anyway, what they tend to do it
look to the market as the answer to everything. this is what liberals do
with regard to the government, though, so i guess they're even. but back
to the conservatives. they tend to think of the market as infallable. if
a price of something is determined by the market then it must be right.
if someone loses their job then it's because the market didn't think their
job was worthwhile. most importantly to this is that they see all this
as perfectly acceptable. not only that, but this is how things should
be. unfortunately, while i like the market as much as the next guy
for a lot of things and think that the market shouldn't be messed with
too much if we can help it, it does have fundamental limitations. externalties.
classically, economists take some of the most important aspects of our
society and simply choose to place them outside of the market. things like
happiness, the environment, health/safety, etc. economic conservatives
tend to take the market at face value and think less about these and other
non-market elements. they also tend to evaluate the value of a given thing
monetarily rather than using other metrics. the relative greatness of countries
or people, for example, is often measured using gdp, unemployment, etc.
of course this makes a certain amount of sense. the economy drives a lot
of other things and is much easier to quantify than happiness, satisfaction,
or quality of life.
we have a two day garage
reorganization project on monday/tuesday. hopefully we get it all done.
big two car garage and we're putting in a bunch of shelving, a work bench,
and miscellaneous organization.
meryl's a great mom.
went to napa yesterday
with meryl's family. did the christmas thing in a non-traditional way which
is their tradition. it was good.
back is beginning to feel
better. good enough to pick up around the house and whatnot.
donated to wikipedia.
not much to say.
another link. mike rowe talking about jobs. more
mike rowe here.
i like his thinking on
a lot of things and i like the direction he's going and where he's trying
to pull society, but i think he misses the mark a bit on his SWEAT
pledge. i take him literally which is why i disagree with the following
elements of his 12 point pledge: "I believe that my safety is my responsibility."
i actually believe it's my responsibility first and it should be other
people's responsibility second. i completely agree with the second part
of the point "I understand that being in “compliance” does not necessarily
mean I’m out of danger." i also believe he's being a little naive when
he writes "I believe that I am a product of my choices – not my circumstances."
and "I believe that all people are created equal."
was planning on working
at saul's today but zoe had a rough night and when i got out of bed in
the middle of the night i laid back down weird and now my back is sucky
again. i can move around and whatnot, but working, bending, etc. is another
story so i'm taking it easy today. did check out a job for a neighbor though
so maybe that'll turn into something down the line.
we also got a job doing
some garage organization in marin.
been thinking a lot about
the prospect of quitting at the alumni house. same stuff keeps going through
my head. with a bad back i wouldn't get paid. i could take vacation whenever
i want, but i wouldn't get paid. i'd be my own boss, but that means i have
to deal with any problems. my earning potential would be greater, but i
could also earn less and work more. i'd be more susceptible to cost increases
the jury i would have been
on came to a verdict
a while ago. guess it only took them a day. not sure i've ever seen a murderer
in person. not that i know of anyway.
lucky if i see 200 tv shows/movies
this year. pretty bad year in that regard. tv has taken over for a couple
reasons. easier to fit into my schedule. better art form right now. money.
got an ergonomic keyboard
a while back. right wrist seems to be doing better, but also because i
got a trackball and i'm not on the computer much outside of work anymore.
annoying thing about the keyboard is that the space bar doesn't work sometimes
because of the way i'm striking it.
did my bowl picks yesterday.
meryl and zoe pick theirs today. we'll use index cards placed in front
of zoe and whichever one she grabs is her pick.
she's been eating more
lately. banana and avocado, but we've thrown in some other little things
as well. including stuff that we shouldn't like a bit of french fry from
five guys. she's still alive somehow.
got our first xmas tree
together on monday. 8 or so years and meryl and i have never had one. this
is the first year we've had a real reason as far as i'm concerned.
rg3 is looking like a bust.
this year i've been utterly unimpressed with his play and leadership. heard
he's getting benched. tough luck for him.
i think i have a fantasy
football team still, but i haven't looked at it for more than 1 minute
in the last two months. i think i started 3-1 and now i'm like 3-10.
skipped work today to let
my back rest.
feel lazy as crap.
niners had a win over the
seahawks yesterday. not a convincing one, but they got the win. it's pretty
clear that the niners aren't as good a team today as they were last year
or even the year before. roman's genius offense and kaepernick's brilliant
play have both come back to earth as these things always do. they are weakers
on special teams and their passing game has taken a big step backwards.
they still have one of the three best defenses in the league.
been busy as usual these
hurt my back a bit yesterday
while on a job in walnut creek. 24' fiberglass ladder is a pain to manuever.
got a $40 tip though. then i went to lafayette and got a $23 tip. man,
the other side of the hill is where it's at.
the club local thing has
been working out pretty well so far. not big money, but i think it could
be good for filling gaps in the schedule in the event that i go off on
licensing process is still
in the works. need some time to write up my experience, gather signatures
and do a little research. this stuff always takes more time than it should.
zoe is as cute as ever.
when she was one month old i was kinda sad because i figured she would
never be cuter, but i was wrong. a little more hair and some eyebrows and
now she looks like less of an alien. she smiles more and responds to stimuli
more so she's cuter and more fun.
been awful about watching
movies and writing on the page. blah.
the bathroom at saul's
is now functional. nice to have a bit of the weight off. still lots of
finishing touches that i'll have to do, but the big stuff is complete.
road trip to colorado was
good. lots of driving with my dad. he did over 3k in 5 days. he picked
me up here so i missed about 750 of those miles. it was cold - 28 degrees.
they don't do much tailgating or anything else in colorado and the stadium
was far from sold out. it appears as though colorado is yet another school
that probably doesn't need to have a football team, but thinks they do
because everyone else does. the number of schools in the country that should
have a football team is probably under 50.
speaking of which, cal
had one of its worst seasons in history. the line on the stanford game
was 32, i figured cal would be within that number, but they lost by 50.
i overestimated them literally every single week. next year i won't make
that mistake. sonny dykes isn't a good fit and sandy barbour should be
i have less and less confidence
in the government every day. what's one big thing the democrats and republicans
both agree on? military spending should be ridiculously large. and yet
we still get stuck in 10 year wars in iraq and afghanistan. we fail to
properly define success and by most measures our trillions are wasted there.
so, even when most people in government agree on a large project, they
still manage to fuck it up to a pretty big extent.
again, once in a while they get it right.
yup, still busy as hell.
got out of jury duty. by
the time they called me they had like 4 days of picking through the pool
and i actually kinda wanted to do it at that point. it was for a murder
in front of sweet jimmie's in oakland. two guys. two people dead, five
injured. deliberation is slated for thanksgiving time so i'd still be doing
that shit. they have you fill out a questionnaire and it asks all sorts
of questions - what kinds of tv do you watch, how do you feel about guns,
have you had anyone close to you hurt by guns, would you trust a gang member
as much as an average citizen. i was in sort of a foul mood when i filled
out the questionnaire so i didn't pull any punches. i told the truth, of
course, but i wasn't exactly putting my best foot forward. i mentioned
that one of my best friends was shot in the neck, that my girlfriend's
mom was a defense attorney for people on death row, etc. they asked how
i felt about the criminal justice system and i simply said "it's awful."
when asked about that by the judge i said i felt like they mostly got the
right people, but that it wasn't focused enough on rehabilitation, rather
it was about punishment. when the defense attorneys asked me what i meant
when i said that gang members lie for each other so i wouldn't trust them
as much as a regular citizen i said basically said that they are family
and they will lie for each other. just like a cop would lie for another
cop if the case was regarding pulling a gun on an innocent person. it's
a brotherhood and of course they're going to stick up for each other. however,
if they told me it was raining on the day of the incident i'd believe them
equally on that sort of issue.
long story short, the prosecutor
and defense attorneys both hated me and it was obvious. all three of them
wanted to excuse me with cause, but the judge declined that request so
the prosecutor gave me the boot. i take some measure of pride over this.
both sides hated me. i think i could have been their best friend or worst
enemy on the jury because i'm so good at seeing both sides of the coin.
at some point the issue came up that not every single question you have
may be answered, but that the law says you can still find the defendants
guilty in this circumstance, the prosecutor asked one potential juror if
she would agree that a murder had occurred if there was a dead body with
a bullet in the body but no gun found at the scene. she thought for a moment
and agreed that it would be reasonable to assume there was a murder in
that hypothetical example. i'm the kind of guy who could easily concoct
a circumstance where that wasn't the case. maybe it was new year's eve
and people were shooting guns in the air and someone got unlucky. not a
murder per se. maybe it was a suicide and someone took the weapon afterwards.
with the limited info provided in the hypothetical example it's impossible
to say that what he described was a murder. anyway, i think i'd be a great
juror one day and an awful one the next so maybe it's for the best that
i wasn't chosen.
my guess is that they did
it. they weren't on trial because they were happily chewing gum in the
wrong place at the wrong time. at the same time i probably have a higher
standard for "beyond reasonable doubt" and would much rather let guilty
people go than imprison innocent ones in a corrupt and immoral prison system.
this healthcare stuff is
pure politics at this point. it's all on obama of course. this is his biggest
legacy legislation and he should have groomed it like it was his child.
instead he left it to others and they fucked it up. say what you will about
the republicans blocking things and not releasing funds, or how corrupt
and stupid the procurement process is (and i agree with these points)...bottom
line is that he needed to make sure the freaking website was working at
the very least. this is why people don't trust government. every liberal
who argues for more government intervention in our lives dies a little
bit on the inside when this kind of shit happens.
man by neil diamond is one of the best songs ever. i love those opening
Melinda was mine
'Til the time that
I found her
And lovin' him
Then Sue came along
Loved me strong, that's
what I thought
Me and Sue
That died, too
"that died, too." ouch.
quick, to the point, and goes perfectly with the music. johnny cash's version
is excellent, but nothing beats the original.
been watching sons of anarchy
lately. not great so far.
cal's football teams is
way worse than i realized or predicted. usc is mediocre and they looked
like a top ten offense against cal. i wonder how long dykes
will be in berkeley. probably forever, but that's changing the topic and,
frankly, quite insensitive.
got a lot of football traveling
coming up. stanford at usc, osu and ore, and usc at co.
zoe is sleeping on her
tummy lately. we took the swaddle away and she seems to be adapting pretty
well. she wakes up a couple times a night. maybe hungry. staring at food
a lot and the doctor said since she's big and about old enough that we
should start feeding her food. of course i had already given her a tiny
taste of yogurt park and ice cream already because i couldn't resist. we
also put other things in her mouth just to see her reaction. banana and
mild stuff, but also more powerful tastes. i don't think any of these things
are going to kill her (even honey which they say you should stay away from).
she really seems to dig the different flavors. we've tried eating out at
a lot of different places while breastfeeding and while meryl was pregnant
because they say that helps open the baby up to more tastes. she's going
to eat what we put in front of her or she's going to starve. it's actually
pretty simple and i think she'll figure it out .tail isn't wagging the
dog on this. you want to be spoiled? that's what grandparents are for and
you have six of them so have at it.
cutest thing i've ever
seen, though, so maybe i'll just crumble into pieces once she starts talking.
one thing that's cool about
being your own boss, and particularly with handyman work, is that it's
all up to me. i can take a job or decline it. on the other hand, there's
no blaming others if something doesn't work. i can't get bailed out or
pass the buck. there's no safety line in a way. the safety line is bowing
out of the job and having someone else do it. i can't say that i'll run
something up the flag pole and ask the boss, or reserve the uncomfortable
conversations with the boss who makes more than i do to handle that crap.
i have to handle that crap. so far that stuff hasn't come up but i'm sure
it will at some point. so far i haven't gotten too far over my head with
anything. i've done work that i'm not 100% proud of. there are some jobs
where i wish i knew more or could execute something better or quicker.
it's tough in those times not having someone to turn to to answer your
questions or help you out. it's just me and i have to figure it out as
best i can. i can explain to the customer the situation and give them options,
but i can't magically turn into an appliance repairman and fix the problem
they asked me about. but i guess that's part of being a generalist and
it's a part that both the customer and i need to understand - i can fix
little things that go wrong with a lot of different things, but i can't
be reasonably expected to know how to fix everything that goes wrong with
niners looked pathetic
on sunday. colin kaepernick the greatest qb in the league and #1 selling
jersey in the nfl leads the leagues worst passing offense to another embarassing
defeat. #1 rushing offense and last place in passing offense. pathetic.
meanwhile alex smith has helped the 2-14 chiefs of last year into a 9-0
team this year. of course a lot goes into all this - injured receivers
and focus on the running game for the niners and a new coach for the chiefs,
etc. still, though, just saying.
saw missy franklin on campus
yesterday. seen her before, but this time was closer. tempted to tell her
one day that my daughter will be a fan of hers one day and if she ever
finds out that missy is doping i'll cut her fucking throat, er, it'll really
disappoint zoe and make her jaded. of course she looks like just another
freshman on campus, only she has like 5 olympic medals.
got really sick the last
couple days. was feeling it a bit early in the week in the throat, but
then it seemed to go away. i think it helped that i jumped on it right
away with cold eeze. but then i thought it was gone and i didn't take it
easy so it came back with a vengeance. not much sleep last night and kicked
my ass today. that's probably the worst of it though. i'll probably be
onto the coughing tomorrow and it'll be better from here on out. slept
a lot today.
had a good time in santa
cruz doing some work for johnny and visiting the sanders crew. always fun
to go down there. first time i've had a night without zoe. slept pretty
part of the trouble of
being a generalist is that you don't get a lot of practice doing the same
thing over and over again. as a result i find myself forgetting certain
details when doing projects that i haven't done in a while. at the same
time, i've done the projects before so i don't usually think about them
as much as i would if it were my first time. it's that dangerous zone where
i know enough to get myself in trouble, but not enough to always avoid
haven't been very good
about watching movies lately. actually, been about as awful as ever.
been working a lot lately.
should be interesting to see where everything shakes out at the end of
the year minus expenses. you charge $50/hr and you think it's great money,
but then you pay $3 for parking and then you get a $43 parking ticket and
you pay $1200 for insurance and $800 for licensing fees and another $120
for a business permit and extra money for some tools (some you really need
to do the job and others that just make it easier [which strangely means
you make even less money because you're more efficient[) and money for
gas because you're driving all over the place and somehow a decent amount
for little screws and crap that you don't charge for, but actually use
and then you spend a bunch of time on the road and at the hardware store
and working on accounting and next thing you know you're making $12/hr.
this is why i still work for the alumni house.
and here's another reason
- jury duty. got called in (again) for jury duty on monday. i know it's
supposed to be random and they draw the names from the dmv and voter registration
(kinda fucked up), but i've been called in at least 4 times and meryl hasn't
been called in once. just saying. so i'm not supposed to say anything about
the case, but i guess it's kind of a big deal so it would run until thanksgiving
+ time for deliberations. you get fridays off, but basically that means
i'd be out of work for a month. if i didn't work at the alumni house then
this is the kind of thing that would totally screw me. maybe i'd get a
judge who would say it was a legitimate financial hardship, maybe not.
AH pays for up to 20 days of jury duty which was really bad news when i
found out because i got shit that needs to get done not only for the AH,
but also for my business. hopefully they let me go.
7a was working on a project
at saul's and finished at 330p. then i went to another potential job, then
came home. tomorrow i have jury duty at 2p, but will be working for a couple
on various things starting at 8a. i had planned on working until 3p, but
the f-ing government and civic duty intervened and stole $75 out of my
pocket. which reminds me of some of my favorite lines in hip-hop history:
I got a letter from
The other day
I opened and read it
It said they were suckers
They wanted me for
their army or whatever
Picture me given' a
damn I said never
Here is a land that
never gave a damn
About a brother like
me and myself
Because they never
I wasn't wit' it but
just that very minute...
It occurred to me
The suckers had authority
potentially working for
johnny this weekend. weekend work trip to santa cruz would be fun.
got several games on the
horizon as well - osu vs ore, usc vs col, and stan vs usc. all those are
road trip games.
i have two more classes
to go before i'm done with my contractor's business test studying. then
i take the test and hopefully get licensed d-64 (non-specialized contractor).
hopefully all that works out. one thing i've learned from reading the CA
law is that it basically favors the homeowner (probably a good thing on
the whole) and hiring people is an expensive pain in the ass which is why
everyone offloads some of it to ADP or similar. after you've hired one
person i think the friction decreases until you get to about 50. but hiring
that first person is kind of a big hurdle and one that i'll probably never
which brings up the long-term
question. what happens in 10, 15, 20, 25 years when my body starts to break
down more or i want to retire? can i be a handyman working for myself for
that long or until that age? can i make enough money in that time to buy
an income property or save/invest enough to make it so that i don't have
to do as much of this kind of work as i age? is it better to keep this
as a side gig and let my AH work bring in the real money (+ benefits)?
finished the truck organization
today. turns out i don't think i'll need any kind of latches to keep the
drawers in place as friction mostly does the job. will refine it with time
- maybe adding some dividers in the drawers or some systems to hold longer
items like sheet goods, lumber, ladders, etc. but it's done enough for
now. should increase my productivity and organization which has been my
main focus during this trial period. my preparedness is good for everyone
one of meryl's friends
from high school came over today and showed us the ropes with quickbooks
and accounting in general. was only two hours, but i think it helped us
quite a bit. meryl has some experience with accounting and i have none.
i was able to get my truck
organization mostly built today. happy about that. there are some upgrades
i want to install, but those can come later.
it's kinda looking like
the two big projects that were on the horizon won't come through after
all. i haven't given up all hope, but i haven't heard back from them and
that usually isn't a great sign. maybe i bid too high? maybe they're just
when i use swype on my
phone to type "busy" it often comes out as "busty." man, swype really knows
where my head is at.
zoe got her second round
of immunizations yesterday. jenny mccarthy wrote us a letter telling us
that we are killing our child. oh well.
zoe also kept us up last
night, probably because of the shots. that sucked. i ended up waking up
early anyway and working this morning to undo something i spent a few days
doing before. it was a janitor's sink in a restaurant. the owner decided
to move it downstairs after all so he needed me to remove it. amazing that
it took me about 1hr 15min to undo what it took me a couple days to construct.
that's how life is, though. deconstruction is always easier and faster
than construction. anyone can nitpick and find flaws in things, but it
takes a different kind of person and temperament to actually make something.
we're seeing that now with ted cruz and those idiot crybabies. forget
all the problems with obamacare or whatever else - in its simplest form,
what they are doing is just plain childish and stupid. because they don't
like a law they are holding the government hostage. pure insanity.
that said, i hope they
don't reach an agreement. all this stuff feels like a compressed version
of the slavery issue. we keep kicking the can down the road with the compromise
of 1850 and the missouri compromise. those things didn't work. they let
some steam off for a while, but we still needed the civil war. i honestly
feel like we're at that point again; and with the same people. the reporting
i've heard says that it's not even a republican-democrat thing, it's a
regional thing. the southern republicans are the ones leading the charge
and still sticking to their guns on the obamacare must go issue. i'm not
saying we need to have a civil war, but i do feel like things need to get
worse before they get better.
perhaps the republican
party needs to have 20 years of losses before they figure it out. perhaps
we need a second recession for the american people to figure it out. both
these things are bad, imo. an unchecked democratic party is an awful thought.
they're a worthless bunch of lawyer lovers, government solves everything,
limp dick babies. but at least they generally don't want to go to war,
they respect certain civil liberties, and are wary of statism. on the whole,
both parties are pathetic, idiotic panderers. if we abolished the party
system and got money out of politics i'd be a happier man.
it seems like a very easy
way to fix part of the healthcare cost issue would be to mandate the easy
availability of all healthcare services. as is, though, good luck finding
out what you would pay to have a bit of skin cancer removed from your forehead
or to have a c-section. instead, you go wherever you go and you get a bill
for whatever portion the insurance company doesn't cover. make it mandatory
for hospitals and other healthcare providers to provide a price list of
sorts. other groups will no doubt take that information, put it online
in a searchable way alongside yelp reviews, etc. at that point you will
have the ability to price shop and compare results and customer satisfaction.
shine light on the pricing and a lot of things will be a lot better. not
a panacea, but it's the kind of thing where it would take one page worth
of legislation to do a lot of good.
bought the plywood for
my truck organization plan. i figure i'll have two large drawers that run
2/3 of the length of the bed and can slide out. on top of them i will have
a flat platform on which random things can go. the drawers will house extra
supplies and have room for at least 7 sys 4 systainers. in front of the
drawers there will be space for three rows of stacked systainers or misc.
stuff. i also want the drawers to be able to slide out partially and then
lock in place so that they can support sheet goods and maybe even long
lumber (probably up to 12' which is pretty good without a lumber rack.
i don't play video games
much, but lately i've been playing throne wars on my phone. it's like warcraft
but it's online and is in real time. which i guess makes it like world
of warcraft, but i don't know because i never played that one. the original
warcraft was awesome and i played that a lot in high school. anyway, it's
fun to play while waiting in line or whatever. the real-time aspect makes
it very addictive, but ultimately this will be the downfall. a busy person
can't play this game for very long and maintain his empire so ultimately
he will quit.
zoe seems to be developing
a bit of a napping pattern now. she used to sleep for shorter periods a
few times a day. now she seems to be settling into longer naps twice a
day - morning and late afternoon. this is nice for everyone involved.
went to luke and claire's
wedding reception/anniversary the other day. it was nice to see them make
been working on getting
everything entered into quickbooks for the business. wish i knew more about
why isn't vernon davis
a better player? he has a lot of potential and has shown flashes of greatness.
either he's not trying hard enough or they don't use him correctly.
the breaking bad finale
is still haunting my memories. great way to end a great series.
amazing how the word "need"
has been so distorted to the point where it basically doesn't mean anything
in point. talking about the new stanford football locker rooms: "It
shows how serious we are about football,” Shaw said. “We needed new facilities.
We needed more space and we needed a bigger, nicer locker room and we needed
the meeting space. It’s exactly what we needed. It’s beautiful." it's also
amazing how much of an arms race there is in college football to have the
bigger nicer facilities. it's crazy. that said, it's one thing when it's
stanford or usc which are privately-funded and it's another when it's cal
or another public school. our society's priorities are so out of whack
i usually try not to give
morons like this the time of day, but this is just epically retarded. miley:
the (bowel) movement.
big power outage on campus
happened last night. came in today and found out, after calling a couple
people, that we (the alumni house) may be without power for a week or more.
we'll probably get a generator in there earlier, but it's still pretty
crazy. i wouldn't mind the time off. i'll be in there tomorrow, but it
would be nice if i got out of work for a couple days.
i have two club local jobs
booked for today and tomorrow. both in the evening because that's when
i'm available. that means i'll have three days in a row of working 10+
hours or so. i'm not really used to working that much. the other day i
had a 14 hour day between meeting a 7am with one client, working at the
alumni house, then going to work on a small job for another client and
then going to contractor classes which got out around 8p. door to door
i was out for 14 hours. i can hardly imagine working 12 hour days while
building the hoover dam or something in the middle of the desert. we have
it pretty easy these days.
yesterday i worked for
a couple who wanted a few things done. i planned on it taking about 6 hours.
i had to make two trips to the hardware store, i forgot about needing to
eat, and they added two things while i was there. next thing i know the
day was 10 hours working and spending time at the hardware store. had to
cancel on a client that i was going to do some work for after the first
one was done. first time i've had to cancel something before. i hate making
an appointment and then delaying or canceling it.
learned i need to account
for lunch, among other things. i think with time and experience i'll get
better about having most things on site (to avoid trips to the store) and
i'll get better at estimating how long things will take.
if i have more than one
job in a day, i'll have to figure out how to maximize my billing time without
working 12 hour days.
i also need to improve
truck organization/access. my tools are pretty well organized thanks to
the festool system and a lot of time on my part refining what packs i have
with me, but truck bed access is limited so i have to crawl over things
to get at the things in the back. i'm working on designing a bed drawer
system that will allow me to pull things out like a commercial
bed slide setup, but without the high cost.
the breaking bad finale
was the best single episode of the series. tragic story overall.
busy busy busy.
still trying to get paid
from the state for paid family leave. it's been almost four months since
zoe was born and 3 months since i filed the paperwork. i've spoken with
them two times, hr has spoken with them twice and sent two letters with
all the info. nothing so far. i've called a dozen times today and been
hung up on every time. it's abundantly clear to me now why people hear
government healthcare and are naturally suspicious.
ted cruz comes off as one
of the most fake people in politics. saw him on meet the press the other
day and he just seems like a huckster trying to position himself for a
presidential run that will never happen. our government is so broken.
learning about quickbooks
now. downloaded it the other day and started entering invoices and customer
contact info. if you're good with it and want to trade labor, let me know.
bad loss for the niners
the other day. they just weren't ever in the game at all. running game
looked awful, defense was spotty, but mostly it was harbaugh/roman and
kaepernick who looked bad. interceptions and the usual 2-3 delay of game
penalties for cp. no answers whatsoever from the coaching staff. the nfl
is all about panicking and overreacting so i'm not going to do that, but
it was a bad loss.
been getting more and more
leads lately for handyman work. we're not doing any advertising, either.
seriously considering quitting the alumni house and going out on my own.
meryl makes a lot doing her multiple jobs and maybe i could make it work
cobbling together several handyman jobs. the biggest consideration is health
insurance. if it were free, i would quit by the end of the year. next year
we'll see how obamacare actually affects the marketplace. if the price
is right then maybe a private insurance plan will be the way to go.
signed up with a leads
service that pays very well and doesn't have any real commitment from me.
they get a cut from every job that i do for them, but that's pretty much
it. we'll monitor how it goes. if i find i'm getting booked with them a
lot and the work is real, then that'll be a big plus.
also got to bid on a large-ish
painting job and an earthquake retrofit for a neighbor. besides health
insurance the biggest challenge of going out on my own would be getting
help when needed. for a large job like the eq retrofit i'd definitely need
a helper or two, but i don't want to pay an illegal or someone i don't
know unless it's for my house. meryl can help sometimes with some stuff,
but then zoe needs a sitter. if you want work, let me know. zoe is still
a year or two away from being able to help me under the house or with paint
other than that little
jobs trickle in via yelp and referrals from time to time. so far about
25% of our clientele is gay. evidently we're popular on gayslookingforhandymen.com
or something. haha.
last episode of dexter
is around the corner. can't say i'm in love with this season. definitely
not their best stuff.
harbaugh classes it up
again. he should probably just keep his yap shut. the funny thing about
this is that as he's bad mouthing clay matthews about an open handed slap
vs. a punch, he reaches down to adjust his nuts (about 2:10 into the video).
harbaugh keeping it classy as always.
which lead me to this bizarre
finish. sucks for wisconsin.
should be a good niner
game today. seahawks have been tough lately, though they didn't look very
impressive last week. i'm guessing the niners will win by a td or so.
cal did a little better
than i thought against osu. i had the line at 21, but i'm no bookie evidently
since vegas had it at 13. cal's defense is a problem, but we knew that
was going to be the case with dykes.
on season 5 of breaking
bad now. rewtaching it with meryl has been good. lots of stuff that i had
usc is awful this year.
i fully expect them to lose half their pac-12 matchups including their
cal game. cal's qb is looking good with the new offense. defense is a problem
for them. everything is a problem for usc.
this year's football trips
include a trip to boulder with my dad and uncle to see usc get at least
one win against a pac-12 opponent. the other trip will be with meryl and
zoe to the civil war game in eugene. after those games i'll still need
to see games at WA, WSU, OSU, UT and the rose bowl to finish up all the
pac-12 stadiums. oddly, i don't think i've ever seen a game at the rose
bowl. certainly not one that i remember anyway.
been busy with business
stuff lately. working on insurance requirements and whatnot.
went across the new span
of the bay bridge today. it was zoe's first time in SF and the first day
that the bridge was open to the public. went to the embarcadero area and
checked out the farmers market and ate at gott's roadside. good food plenty
more good food. it would be nice if oakland had an open marketplace like
that. jack london square would be perfect. get some more parking and a
bart stop and the new a's stadium and that area would be really nice. oh
also did some work for
saul's which is nice because it got me some money and got me up early (i
get there at 7a whenever i go so i can get some work done before they open).
also got my truck seat
reupholstered (just one portion of it) because it was falling apart, but
they didn't put the seat back in correctly so i have to go back tomorrow
to get that working properly. blah. it turned out to be a lot less that
the quotes i had received elsewhere, though. the other place i got it at
never returned my multiple calls, though, so i guess they didn't want the
work. it's amazing how often people turn down work. this is the part of
me that sides with the conservatives who say that it's the land of opportunity.
if you apply yourself and work hard then you shouldn't be poor. of course
i understand passing up work, but it does amaze me how often it happens
even in a down economy.
speaking of which, i'm
going to be doing a little bit of rot repair for a neighbor because the
contractor who is doing some other work for her doesn't want to do the
work. i would have rather passed on it also, but it's a neighbor and i'm
doing it for time and materials so i'm not going to lose any money.
2/3 of UT is federally
energy vs. the environment.
tough balance. we're getting more and more energy independent (i reluctantly
think bush has to get credit for some of this). at our current rate maybe
in 20 years we could let the middle east figure shit out on their own without
having to worry about oil prices killing us. on the other hand, that may
come at the cost of the environment. fracking is getting us so much natural
gas we're near storage capacity and starting to export it. what's the true
cost to our water supply and the people who live in the region? all this
is a constant balance. lots of tough calls.
microsoft is talking about
acquiring nokia. as a result the stock went up 30% today. as a result i
made a few thousand bucks. best day in my stock trading career, as i had
invested pretty heavily in NOK. i once made $900 on PBI in a day, but that
was dumb luck. this one was a bit more skill as i've been buying stock
in nokia since 7/26/12. they were $1.95 at the time and they were over
$5.40 today - wish i bought more at that price.
i've been saving my "blog"
entries for 15 years now. september of 1998 is the earliest entry that
i have saved and i've been doing it every month since then. this has got
to be among the oldest 1% continually run sites of its kind on the net.
i met a guy in ohio named
harley gheen. good guy. he was in 80s when i lived there and he said that
he was never a very good runner, but he started running marathons at some
point and was almost always at the bottom of the finishing list. but he
stuck with it and now he's in his 80s and is getting first place basically
every time he runs a race. sometimes you don't need to be good, you just
need to stick around.
didn't hear obama's speech
the other day re: syria, but it doesn't really matter. apparently he wants
to go in and do a limited strike, but wants congress to weigh in. 1) yeah,
congress should be involved in this stuff all the time. it's a no brainer.
2) he wants congress to weigh in to bail him out. he made a stupid commitment
(red line comment) and how he has to act on it, but wants congress to back
him up so he doesn't look like a cowboy.
this is just more of bush
and the typical american foreign policy. disappointing if you ever believed
in obama as a figure of change (i didn't vote for him and never bought
the hype so it's just more of the usual to me). we need to extricate
ourselves from the region. our meddling does little to no good. we have
a policy of keeping the nations over there pretty much equal in strength
so there is stability. other than that we just want to protect our oil
okay, so what about the
people dying horrible deaths? 5k a people a month have been dying over
there for the last two years and all of a sudden obama gets his panties
in a knot because they're dying from chemical weapons? it's somewhat arbitrary,
but it's the way the international community has setup the laws. for whatever
reason they've drawn the line with chemical and biological weapons. weird,
but there it is. kill as many people as you want with machetes (rwanda),
but if you use nerve gas then you're in trouble. fair enough, i suppose,
but where is the international outrage? france wants to go in (they have
their own history with syria) and so do we, but no one else seems to be
in an uproar about it. we need to stop being the police of the world. if
the UN sees a major humanitarian crises and wants to act on it, then we
can join in. we can even lead the effort in the UN, but we need to stop
being the ones doing all the heavy lifting. the reward is little, the risk
is high and so are the costs.
football season is upon
usc looked bad against
hawaii. they're in the top 25 now. i predict they won't be by the end of
the season. qb situation is bad. offensive line looked bad against a lesser
team. maybe in two years after they have a new coach things will be different.
raiders are getting predictions
of 2-4 wins by all the local commentators. vegas says 5, i believe. i think
they can win 5 or 6. not that i really care, but i think they're a bit
better than people are guessing.
niners should be contenders
again. i still have a bitter taste in my mouth.
itunes remains the
worst program in history.
missed the time on the
last few entries for some reason.
it's been one of those
took my stitches out today.
wasn't able to get one of them out. i'll have to try again tomorrow. my
eybrow still looks comically raised, despite the doctor's assurances that
it would go down after i took out the stitches. i never really bought this
claim as it makes no sense. with time gravity will do its job and my skin
will stretch, but i look like i'm pondering something in the meantime.
3 cancer surgeries by age 34. while it's extremely unlikely that this sort
of cancer will do any major damage it does make me wonder if the worse
kind isn't in my future. in all likelihood i have plenty of time left for
it to work its magic in my body. c'est la vie.
tomorrow we'll be working
on finishing off the earthquake retrofit. i feel like there's not too much
left to do so we should be able to get most of it done, if not all of it.
it'll be nice to have the back patio relatively free of the plywood and
stuff. i'll be able to shoot some hoops again.
sunday i'll work on the
bed frame some more and hopefully make some good headway there. it's a
three part frame so it'll be relatively easy to move around. i'm hoping
that it'll only take a few more days to build.
as good as amazon is for
shopping, they don't have a particularly well laid out site.
been trying to deal with
the government to get my PFL benefits. PFL is paid family leave. basically,
we CA tax payers pay into SDI and one of the programs allows new parents
time off to bond with their child. you get some
money for the time off you take and it's supposed to help you make
the new family. my hr department never told me i was supposed to fill out
any paperwork for this so the whole process started 6 weeks late. then
i thought i was on track, but, after finally talking with the govt. employee
about this (took a dozen calls and plenty of time on hold), it turns out
i was supposed to turn in a new form every week that i take days off. hr
never made any of this clear. and, from our many conversations on the topic,
it is clear they didn't know how any of this worked so it makes sense why.
fuck em both.
elon musk proposed a hyperloop
system recently for california. he claims it'll cost under $7 billion.
i call b.s. everything he does costs more than he says and everything he's
done has been done before in some form. his figures for land acquisition
are highly unrealistic, the science is way unproven, the safety is questionable,
and the margin for error in the design/execution is very low. wishful thinking
at best. that said, he's still more of a "genius" than steve jobs ever
was and probably less of an asshole.
been watching breaking
bad again from the beginning. this time meryl is watching it with me. more
funny than i remembered.
work on the house has been
slow lately. it's tough getting stuff done with zoe. she eats every two
hours or so and that takes 20-30 minutes. she really wants one of us with
her in order to sleep and then she doesn't get a lot of sleep past noon.
so, most of our productive time of the day is eaten up by entertaining/caring
test on my forehead was
clear this time so i should be cancer free.
been going out for breakfast
more lately since i have extra days off. that'll end soon, but it's been
nice. zoe is good in the morning, especially when meryl wears her, so it's
a good opportunity to get out of the house.
yesterday i had another
surgery on my forehead to remove yet more cancerous stuff that they didn't
completely remove two weeks ago. they made the incision even bigger this
time. the first one was 7 stitches and this one was 11. not pleasant, especially
since they initially said they only needed to get a tiny tendril and that
it should be really quick.
zoe was a pill last night.
meryl was at work and i think zoe doesn't like that very much so she pretty
much lost it and was inconsolable most of the night. in other words, yesterday
afternoon/evening was awesome.
the good news is i now
have three suture removal kits (because i opted to take the stitches out
myself) so if you need any medical grade tweezers or scissors, just let
lots i haven't talked about
the asiana flight that
went down was too bad, but i really liked the chairwoman of the faa. she
seemed to have her shit together and i liked the clear way she communicated.
wish there were more in government like here.
that's the problem with
government, though, it attracts (mostly) dumber people, especially at the
point of service positions that the public interacts with the most. the
dmv workers are about as smart as the idiots pumping gas or working at
home depot so we have a low opinion of government on the whole. part of
it is the institutions, but part of it is simply the caliber of people
those positions attract. pay more, add some prestige and agency (power)
to the positions and maybe you'll attract people who care a little more
and are a little more intelligent.
zoe continues to grow at
a ridiculous rate. she's in the 100th percentile for height, 98th for head
size, and 78th for weight (those are my recollections, don't quote me exactly
on those). pretty big girl.
she did pretty well on
our recent trip down to la. we saw both my grandmothers so that was nice
for them to visit with zoe. we also saw my dad, james, and meryl's brother.
fresno, la, sd. zoe did pretty well in the car overall, but the ride back
from la took 7 hours because of bad traffic and she kinda lost it.
blah blah blah. zoe has
been gabbing a lot lately. no words of course, but she makes noises like
she's trying to figure it all out.
been getting lots of little
things done around the house lately. next big projects are to build a bed
frame and dining room table. after that we'll go back to the second half
of the laundry room.
meryl has work the next
couple days so not much going to happen around the house this weekend.
zoe has been a bit of a
pill the last week or so. we think it has something to do with meryl going
back to work. unsure.
been watching a lot
of movies lately since i can't do anything in the shop or anything very
loud while zoe is around. plus, she likes being held and played with most
of the time so that makes it more difficult.
with meryl back working
at the a's i have a lot of time with zoe which generally means putting
her to sleep, calming her down and feeding her. all that means more time
in front of the tv to watch movies instead of time working around the house
or catching up on stuff. the best method i've found to put her to sleep
is to bounce her in my arms and once she's asleep she doesn't want to be
put into her rocker so i'm pretty much stuck to the couch. there are good
and bad aspects of this.
yesterday was my surgery.
didn't hurt as much this time as last time. it's right above my eye so
i was afraid it was going to lead to a black eye, but i iced it right away
and that seems to have done the trick. took the rest of the day easy.
finished up the trim in
the hallway and we're ready to paint. next projects include running ethernet
to bedroom (should have done that a couple months ago when we were working
on that room) and building a new bed frame. meryl will do the hallway painting.
we've been very productive the last month because i've gotten a lot of
time off. finished half the laundry room, almost done with the hallway
(including installing a corner cabinet and closet storage system), installing
closet storage system in bedroom, working at saul's, organizing the garage
(a constant process), and cleaning up the clutter from the front room.
pretty cool project mapping
my second spot of skin
cancer came back. i guess the aldara cream didn't work so now i'm going
to have it surgically removed. pretty close to where the first one was.
zoe has been annoying lately.
you'd think after six weeks these babies would figure out how to get the
pacifer themselves or at least ask for things like a normal human. damn
have more work than i know
what to do with.
my old roommate was on
the diy network the other day. found out that another roommate is starting
a male cosmetics line and another is an author. jeesh. people are growing
up. i wonder when middle age will settle in and i'll start regretting not
doing more things in life.
zimmerman got off somehow.
he had to be guilty of something, anything, but to get off scot-free is
a miscarriage of justice. self-defense isn't a crime, but stalking a kid
because he looks suspicious and doing so against the orders of a 911 operator
means you've got to be guilty of something. beyond that, i think it's tough
we can't control bad things
happening in the world or bad things happening to us, but we can control
how we respond. unfortunately there was rioting in oakland last night.
again, a few ruin it for the majority. 99.9% of oakland didn't riot, but
that's not enough in modern culture. we're a place that riots. that's just
how it is. just as america is a place that murders its own with guns. the
few spoil things for everyone. it's the same reason we have high fences
on freeway overpasses and "not a toy" printed on every piece of packing
plastic we come across. because at some point some idiot ruined it for
everyone else by throwing a watermelon over the short fence or some asshole
lawyer sued because the dry cleaning plastic suffocated the baby of a stupid
did some plumbing for a
guy yesterday and it was a total pain in the ass. first time ever that
a solder of mine didn't hold perfectly. had to redo it twice. so annoying.
part of being a handyman is that every day i need to have a different set
of tools. tomorrow i'll be a carpenter and yesterday i was a plumber. if
it wasn't like that then i could keep my truck stocked with all plumbing
supplies or whatever single trade i chose. as is, though, i have to bring
everything i think i'll need for a job and hope that things go as planned.
making extra trips back home or to the store kill my day and profit margin.
definitely a learning process.
zoe has been sleeping really
well lately. waking up 2-3 times a night to feed, but going back to sleep
other than that. we wear her all day, as much as possible. we put her down
with white noise and the lights down and that seems to be working. knock
zoe was real fussy yesterday
and had blood in her stool. a bit frightening, but we went to the doctor
and they thought it was a cow's milk allergy. i was skeptical. after some
independent research i think it's that she was feeding too little on each
breast. apparently there's different kinds of milk depending upon when
she starts sucking. the early stuff is watery and sugary, the deeper stuff
comes later and is more fatty. if she's getting too much of the early stuff
(foremilk) then she doesn't fill up properly and it doesn't digest well.
leads to spit up and sometimes even bloody poop. all of this is quite fun.
throw up, crap, etc. really, though, it's not as bad as it sounds. she
seems better now that meryl has adjusted the feeding and baby poop and
throw up isn't nearly as vile as adults'.
speaking of vile adults
- paula deen is in the news lately for being somewhat of a racist. i say
"somewhat" because she doesn't appear to be a david duke type, rather she
seems more like a run-of-the-mill old southerner. someone who is out of
touch with modern views on what is acceptable, mixed with a history of
growing up thinking about the races as very different. they are different,
of course; every culture is. her saying "of course" when asked whether
she's used the n-word before or not speaks to the southern culture, and
her honesty, more than it probably does to her being a hateful racist.
i've also found that a lot of racists make a distinction between "blacks"
and "niggers." the latter describes a black person who is awful in some
way - a criminal, a jerk, or maybe someone who just doesn't "know their
place." while "blacks" are just normal people like you and me who happen
to be black. this distinction allows them to use the word and/or think
of themselves as non-racists.
in other race news, and
in the spirit of fairness, the trayvon martin circus continues. rachel
jeantel (his friend who was on the cell phone with him moments before the
incident) took the stand last week. here's
one article about the linguistics of her testimony. it's an apologist's
take on the testimony, really, and martin's use of the term "cracker" to
describe zimmerman. cracker and honkey will never have the same impact
as the n-word, but it does demonstrate a double standard that comes with
being the "race in power," as whites are considered to be in america. we
live in fascinating times. in some ways the pendulum has swung too far
in the direction of being sensitive. i can't ever know what it's like to
be black and hear the n-word, but i can guess that i'd rather be called
that than a pedophile. of course, neither should mean much of anything
coming from some stranger on the street.
they had a story on npr
the other day about obesity. some people chimed in and said it was an awful
disease, others said it was society's fault, others said it was a choice.
i think of it as less of a choice and more of a lack of a choice. in the
majority of cases, one can choose to not be obese by seeking out information
on the topic, restricting their diet, and working out. but a lot of people
don't make that choice. it's also important to note why it's more and more
difficult to make the choice. 1. we're born with the desire to get as many
calories in us as possible because we never know when the next kill/harvest
is coming. evolution teaches us to store fat as much as possible and not
to reject calories (meals). 2. we live in cities that make biking and walking
less and less attractive. we (u.s.) subsidize cars through roads and businesses/govt.
support this with abundant parking as well. we don't subsidize public transit
and we don't build our cities to be walking/neighborhood friendly. these
are generalizations, but it's mostly true in america. 3. food makers are
extremely good at engineering food products to tap into our base desire
to consume calories. they make things crunchy and salty and sweet because
they've studied what we want and are extremely good at supplying what we
other than #1, those
points are at least partially in our control. we can move to a more walking
friendly place, we can lobby our leaders to keep walking and transit in
mind, we can become single issue voters on the subject if it means that
much to us. we can support food companies when they offer healthy or right-sized
portions. we can set up any number of self-control mechanisms to keep ourselves
honest. but, we have a culture that apparently doesn't have a lot of self-control
in this regard and doesn't care enough about how we set up our cities
to change things.
zoe doesn't sleep much
these days. they say she should be getting 14-18 hours of sleep a day,
but she's getting probably 12. our next strategy is to wear her as much
as possible throughout the day and keep her awake in the afternoon/evening
so maybe she'll sleep a bit more at night.
zoe seems to be good about
50% of the nights. the bad nights we'll be up until 4am trying to quiet
her or needing to constantly rock her in order for her to stay quiet. the
good nights we only need to wake up 3 times to feed her.
got some good work done
this last week. finished a big project and knocked a couple other little
things off the list. definitely not back to where i was before, but it's
good to be getting some things done.
the house is the thing
that has gone to the back burner now that we're spending so much time with
zoe. i've been able to do a little in meryl's closet to get it up and running,
but not much else has happened around here.
one thing that i find to
be true about conservatives is that they have a strong desire to see consequences
in society. this isn't to say that liberals don't want that, but i think
that conservatives have a heightened awareness of a lack of consequences;
they make this a priority. so, you see this in economic conservatives who
want businesses to fail, rather than be bailed out. in social conservatives
you see a desire to see bad behavior punished and good behavior rewarded.
sometimes this manifests itself poorly - the drive for more jails or lumping
all criminals together, regardless of background or nuance of a given situation.
once again i find myself in the middle here. i find myself thinking that
"stupid should hurt" quite often. i wish that bad drivers would get in
more wrecks, instead of causing them. i wish that bad people went to jail,
instead of getting bonuses. i think that liberals are more likely to have
a "live and let live" attitude and conservatives' desire for consequences
is often seen as vengeful or mean. in reality, i think we need a little
of both. we need the consequences that keep society in line and we need
the "bleeding heart" to keep us humane and not so eager for consequences
that we chop off your hand for stealing a bicycle.
ran a bunch of errands
today. zoe was in tow for 5.5 hours and did pretty well in and out of the
car. we worked on spending about 5 years worth of gift certificates from
birthdays, xmases, etc. drove all over the place and got some good stuff
for the house. next up is doing a purge to even things out a bit.
luke sent me a picture
of his cornhole today.
it's nice and smooth and he used my tool to make the opening nice and large.
zoe kept us up until 430a
this morning. good job you little stinker.
need to figure out a way
to stay productive during those hours, otherwise it's just a total time
suck. meryl's better at being patient than i am. here's the construction
related test for having a baby. if you can use a rubber mallet to break
up a concrete driveway for hours on end, then you have the patience to
be a parent. if you take one swing and stop, then it's going to be a long
everything checked out
ok at the pediatrician.
zoe has been keeping one
or both of us up most of the night since we've been home. keeping her crying
down isn't actually that difficult - white noise, tossing her in the air
while cradled, and walking around with her in a kangaroo pouch all work
fairly reliably. problem with all those is that they keep us awake.
trying to get some handyman
stuff finished up this weekend. on small job tomorrow and another big one
it's amazing how much of
a magnet little kids are. i think there's something instinctual about wanting
to be near newborns. it takes a village and all that. everyone comes to
see the newborn - they give you their advice and help and pass on some
germs to increase immunity. at least those are my guesses as to why it
seems ingrained in humans to do this.
going back to work today.
not really in love with that idea.
zoe throws her tantrums
around 8p most nights. last night it happened at about 2am. inconsolable
and crying - the usual newborn stuff i guess.
she looks different almost
every day now. her face isn't as fat, but she hasn't lost much weight.
at 10-14 days old they regain their weight loss and should be back to their
birth weight. i think she's right on pace for that.
breast feeding has been
challenging. it's odd that something presumably so natural needs to much
coaxing to make it work. but that's how it is and it's evidenced by the
number of lactation consultants/websites/support groups we have in society.
i think we're figuring it out now, but there were a couple days where it
was kinda rough.
kaiser is a pretty good
institution for birthing. there are some disagreements i have (like their
policy of wanting to induce at 41 weeks), but overall it seems like they
have the whole process down fairly well. the nurses are nice, supervisors
come to check in and get an informal survey, the prenatal care is good
(and didn't require a copay), the lactation consultants are good...it's
almost as if they care about getting things right. the best (and most expensive)
option is probably getting a personalized team of a private doula and midwife
both of whom you screen ahead of time. however, that's just not practical
for most. short of doing that, i'd say that kaiser is a pretty good option.
the birth story...
all along we wanted to
do things as naturally as possible. i think most people would prefer to
not use drugs, not get induced, not get labor delaying drugs, not get a
c-section, etc. well, 41 weeks in and the doctor wanted to induce. we all
talked about it, though, and agreed that we'd induce at 42 weeks. meryl's
mom delivered both her kids two weeks late and needed some pitocin along
the way so it wasn't a huge surprise when 42 weeks came and labor hadn't
started naturally. we were scheduled for induction on the day of her 42nd
week. we called in at 4p as scheduled for a 5p induction, but they were
full. recommended we go to kaiser in walnut creek. meryl started to panic,
i went into diversion mode. so, we went to jamba juice for a snack and
home depot for an errand. called again at 5p and they let us come in at
6p. the induction process is a slow one and that's something we didn't
know beforehand. this is actually probably a good thing because they don't
want to just start an iv and pump you full of a bunch of pitocin right
away. they do the paperwork, you get to know the nurses, you get family
visitors, etc. it wasn't until late that night that meryl actually started
getting any meds (misoprostol, i think) to move things along. getting the
iv in was a bit of an issue, though. they tried 5 times before they could
successfully get an iv into meryl. apparently she has a lot of valves in
her veins so it was quite difficult. it was also difficult to watch and
caused meryl to become annoyed and her hands to be swollen. the misoprostol
is supposed to ripen the cervix so pitocin can be used. we tried it and
8 hours later there was little to no additional effacement/ripening so
the pitocin was next.
this started the contractions
and zoe seemed to be responding okay to the medication. she had a little
bit of a deceleration in her heart rate during the contractions, but that's
not unusual. after some time with the pitocin and increasing the dosage
of that meryl's water broke naturally. or, at least it wasn't artificially
punctured which is sometimes done by the doctor to move things along. at
this point the real stuff began. contractions became much more difficult
for meryl and i had to concentrate much more on helping her through each
one. it became clear pretty quickly, though, that the pain was going to
be too much. so, meryl decided she wanted a pain medication (some kind
of narcotic, the name of which i've forgotten) that would last about an
hour and take away some of the pain. unfortunately this medication didn't
do much so meryl opted for an epidural and they hooked this up about 45
minutes after the initial pain medication. depending upon who you go to
for the information, anywhere from 60-90% of u.s. births are done with
about 10 minutes after
having the epidural catheter hooked up to her, meryl and i were alone in
the room and she mentioned that she felt a bit nauseous. her eyes started
to sag and she didn't look like she was fully aware. i talked to her and
she looked like she was falling asleep. i told her to stay awake and her
head kept nodding down. i hit the nurse's call button. after a few seconds
of that i rubbed her chest to wake her up, but she was only marginally
present. i went to the door and yelled for some help. our nurse was at
the end of the hallway and started jogging towards the room. she said that
it wasn't unusual, but i wasn't so sure. in retrospect, i think she may
have been saying that it wasn't unusual for patients to get tired after
getting taking the narcotic, but this was clearly different. she took meryl's
blood pressure and i believe it was 65/38 which is ridiculously low and
was very frightening to see. the nurse went outside and asked for help.
the next few minutes were kind of frantic. they got her some meds to help
with her blood pressure, the nurse tried to reposition the baby monitor
to get a better read on zoe's heart rate (which was now half of what it
was when she was active), and more and more people were coming into the
small room to help out. meryl was staring at me and i was trying to look
at the monitor to see her blood pressure and zoe's heart rate. i was also
looking at the nurse for some sign of where things were going. i was also
trying to look at meryl with as much confidence as i could so she felt
like things were going to be okay. it was clear to me that things were
no longer on the best case scenario path, but i couldn't impart that to
meryl in any way.
after a few minutes of
monitoring meryl's BP and zoe's heart rate, someone said "i'm going to
call it" and everyone started wrapping up the monitors and moving things
around to get the bed out of the room as quickly as possible. now we were
going to the operating room which was just a couple doors down the hallway.
i followed and saw a look of concern on a woman in the hallway. this didn't
look very good. as i got to the door a nurse stopped me and said i needed
to get some scrubs on. i got back to the room and was in the scrubs in
about 20 seconds, but then wasn't allowed in the OR because there were
so many people in there already.
i waited in our labor room
for a few minutes wondering if i should text the family (which was waiting
downstairs) about the development or leave it be. i decided that an open
ended panic text wouldn't be a good idea so i just waited. a doctor came
in and told me i had to wait and that meryl was being prepped for a c-section.
of course i knew this already and it didn't help. all i cared about was
being able to be with meryl so she had someone there. i asked if i could
go to the door so she could see me and they said no. finally, they let
me go in. zoe's heart rate had settled down. meryl was more stable. the
doctor, though, was talking to her about the risks associated with a c-section.
chance of infection, possibly needing a blood transfusion, blood may contain
HIV in about 1 in 300k cases, etc. etc. etc. things were moving very quickly,
but we had the option now of not going through with the c-section. they
said that meryl and zoe were both stable right now so we could wait if
we wanted. i asked how dilated she was (they try not to check once the
water has broken because of possible infection) - only 4.5cm (pushing starts
at around 10cm). i knew we were still at least a few hours away from being
dilated enough to start pushing. in that time meryl's BP could dip again,
zoe's HR could dip again, we'd be worried about these things the entire
time. i knew the recovery was going to be worse. i knew it wasn't what
we had wanted. i knew we could try to wait it out and face another panic
later. we decided to get zoe out as quickly as possible so everyone would
meryl signed a form in
the OR on the operating table. it's one of those situations where you don't
exactly call your lawyer to review the document. they started the prep
and within another 10 minutes (there wasn't a rush anymore now that mom
and daughter were stable) she was prepped and ready to go. they put the
drape up so meryl and i (i was sitting next to her head) couldn't see any
of the surgery. the first cut was at 7:04p and at 7:12p someone said "dad
stand up" so i did and i saw zoe. she was long and thin and then she started
to cry. the moment she started crying a switch went off in my head. i was
a father now and i was so happy. i told meryl how beautiful she was and
how happy i was. we were both teary eyed and relieved at this point. a
minute or so later i was able to go over and see zoe as they cleaned her
up and were taking her apgar scores (i found out a few minutes later she
scored an 8 at 1 minute and a 9 at 5 minutes). we had wanted zoe to come
straight to meryl's chest after birth and have me cut the umbilical cord.
unfortunately neither of those happened. i looked back and saw meryl cut
open on the operating table. i went back over to her and told her how beautiful
our daughter was and how proud i was of her. i joked with her that i'd
let her wait a week or so before working on the trim in the closet. within
a few minutes of birth i had zoe in my arms and by meryl's side. it took
another 30 minutes or so to get the placenta out and meryl stitched up
so that's the story of
i found out later that
32.8% of u.s. births are by c-section (our nurse said it was about 25%
and is the most common surgery in the u.s. now). at kaiser in oakland that
number is about 19%. both are pretty high numbers relative to what they
were 40 years ago. then again, they used to drug mothers up a lot more
back then. vacuums were used more, etc. in our case it was a matter of
running out of options. after you pass 41 weeks the risk of a stillbirth
(about a million times worse an outcome than a c-section) almost doubles,
even for healthy, white women with babies in the ideal range of 3,000-4,000
grams. i had looked up this data before we reached 42 weeks to try to determine
how much of an overreaction the induction at 41 weeks was. we both determined
it was a bit of an overreaction by kaiser to have a policy of pushing for
induction at 41 weeks, but we also understood it considering the increased
possibility of a stillbirth (still only about 2 in 1,000 for our situation
- white, age of mother, baby between 3,000 and 4,000 grams). also, it turned
out that zoe was a bit bigger than 4,000 grams and therefore slightly more
prone to complications like stillbirth.
as much as we would have
liked to just let nature run its course, options start running out as time
wears on. we tried many of the old wives' tales to naturally induce
labor, too - sex, spicy foods, raspberry leaf tea, squats, walking, etc.
nothing made it come naturally. and once you induce you have fewer options
as well. and once your water breaks you have a ticking clock because of
the possibility of infection. nature just didn't cooperate. in retrospect,
i think we mostly did the right thing. it probably would have been better
to avoid the narcotics or, barring that, wait for the epidural until after
the narcotics had worn off more. it's our guess that the combination of
pain medications and meryl's historical intolerance for pain meds led to
the drop in BP.
another thing we learned
is that labor times are basically guesses. we learned in the birthing class
a while back that only about 8-12% of the time does the water break before
labor starts. so, there's no real "start" of labor. contractions are happening
before "labor" and the water hasn't broken. i'm not sure how people come
up with numbers like "our labor was 60 hours" or "our labor was 2 hours."
meryl was having contractions for a week before the induction. sometimes
contractions aren't very regular so you can't even really rely on a set
length of contraction or time interval.
having a child was an illuminating
experience (and will continue to be, i'm sure). intellectually i knew pretty
much everything i've experienced and felt since that moment. however, you
don't really know it until it happens. i understand why my mom dotes on
me so (too) much at times. i understand now why some parents shake their
crying baby to death. i understand wanting the death penalty now that i've
cared for a baby. the same babies that some people throw in the dumpster.
the same babies that kermit gosnell snipped in the spine. i disagree with
the death penalty, but i wouldn't mind someone snuffing these abhorrent
people out for doing what they do to infants.
that said, it hasn't been
all about illumination. i understand even less how my dad could leave me
at 9 months and not come back for years. i'd rather die than leave zoe
or harm her in any way.
that first day was the
most frightening and most happy day of my life. i was so worried for meryl
and zoe one moment and then so happy and proud just an 30 minutes later.
that first night was bliss. zoe slept well and meryl and i were in heaven
thinking about the family we had started.
since then it's been more
rocky. zoe is having some trouble nursing and her cries are maddening and
depressing. intellectually, we know there's nothing we can do to avoid
these outbursts. she's basically an animal and she only has one mode of
expression. we just have to guess what's wrong and try everything we can
to soothe her. i think we're both more equipped to deal with toddlers and
children than infants. but damned if we both don't also wish those happy
times would never end. a sleeping infant on her mother's chest is just
about the most adorable thing i've ever seen.
zoe was fussy last night
and it was a challenge. the first of many, i'm sure. the kangaroo pouch
seemed to work for her.
at what point does night
turn to morning? 3am? 4am? 2am seems like it's late at night, not early
in the morning. 4am seems like it's early in the morning, not late at night.
i'd say that morning is 3a-10a, midday is 10a-1p, afternoon is 1p-5p, evening
is 5p-10p, late night is 10p-3a.
got back from the hospital
last night around dinner time.
was born 6/6 @7:12pm. 8lbs, 15oz, 22" long. she's big, but slender. i'll
tell the whole story later, but suffice it to say that 6/6 was the scariest
and happiest day of my life. nothing will ever be better than that. seeing
her and hearing her cry for the first time made a switch go off inside
that i was always intellectually aware of, but had never actually experienced.
i'm so happy to have made a family with meryl. they're the best thing about
oh, yeah, and then
they say that the waiting
is the hardest part of expecting. zoe was due on 5/22, but hasn't come
yet. i don't think either of us mind much because it means more time to
get stuff done. finished a job for a couple yesterday and made good headway
on another today. also got a water heater replaced for meryl's parents.
that took longer than it should have, but we got it done.
not looking good for the
we have a photographer
at our house today. we had one a week or so ago, but she apparently took
crappy photos so they sent out another guy. it's for a piece in the sf
chronicle. meryl's excited. i'm basically indifferent. he's been here more
than 2 hours now and it's getting kinda old. i don't need to be famous.
i don't need our work to be in a fancy newspaper.
meryl feels like zoe is
dropping so we'll see if that portends a birth soon.
worked on some cabinetry
for the closet reorganization. tomorrow i'll build the drawers and after
that i'll decide whether to do the drawer fronts myself or farm it out.
last sunday meryl started
having some false contractions. we thought it was the real deal (though
meryl kept saying it wasn't very bad, and they were very irregular), but
it turned out to be nothing. probably a combination of working too much
and not drinking enough. got the family riled up though since i sent out
the texts to them. oopsie.
working on a closet organization
for a couple. hopefully will get that stuff built and at least partially
finished (painted) this weekend.
was about 8lbs at the last ultrasound. she's gonna be fat. yay for fat
the whole handyman/design
business is really sucking away time from the house lately; and we only
have a few clients. i work at saul's every wednesday now doing stuff for
him. he's got another big-ish building project for me that i'll be tackling
next week. plus, he's got a bunch of design work for meryl. then there's
a couple in the hills that had us put up some track lighting for them,
reskin a redwood deck, replace a bathroom fan (discovered it was venting
to the attic so that was bad news), and then there's their closet. the
last one is a little drawer hardware replacement thing that required a
special order, but still takes up space in my brain. i can only imagine
what it's like to do this full time and have to juggle a dozen people at
a time. having one big project is more manageable in a way, but i clearly
don't have the time for anything beyond 1-3 day projects at this point.
at least not if i want to get things done for the client in a timely manner.
leaving a project undone for weeks makes enemies pretty fast and i don't
want to do that.
my next challenge is figuring
out a more efficient and durable painting system than the one i have now.
using the airless is great if you have a lot of things to do or a big house
or several rooms where you need to get a lot of paint onto the surface
quickly. it's not so great for smaller jobs like the custom cabinetry or
built-ins that i get more often than whole house repaints (a job i wouldn't
want to do anyway). i've looked into HVLP, pre-cat paints, milk paint,
tinted lacquer, and lots of others. i hope to get some of this more settled
on sunday when i visit a place that actually sells a lot of these things.
meryl's next challenge
is learning sketchup or something similar. i downloaded it yesterday and
started messing with it. wasn't thrilled by it.
i think zoe will be poised
to do well in the future. i think man's time is pretty much done for in
the u.s., or at least in the blue areas which tend to be more egalitarian.
the most recent recession was basically a mancession and there's a lot
of data on that. the jobs that were lost were blue collar jobs more than
white collar jobs and those are mostly held by men. further, i think that
the sorts of skills and attributes that will help you succeed in the new
economy are the kinds of attributes that women tend to have more than men
- ability to collaborate and listen, for example. one thing that people
keep talking about lately is that women make about 80% as much as men.
frankly i think that has a lot more to do with personal decisions than
it does with prejudice (which seems to be the implication any time one
brings up the stat). decisions like taking time out for the family, not
pursuing higher level jobs, and not asking for raises (1)
i think the biggest hurdle women have to face, economically speaking, is
a lack of confidence. men have too much confidence, often to the point
of being quite annoying. women, however, tend to ask for reassurance more
often in the workplace and aren't as assertive when they feel they're right.
i think, though, that those attributes can be parented away so giving zoe
confidence is probably going to be a cornerstone of my thinking as a parent.
as is true with everything, though, it's about balance. she should have
enough confidence to follow her gut without needing reassurance, but she
shouldn't be so confident that she thinks she "can totally jump off this
roof and into the pool without getting hurt."
i didn't find my confidence
until i was probably 24 or so. girls never liked me much and, like many
girls, i probably put too much power into what the opposite sex thought
of me. in this way, i think i can understand the average teenage girl better
than most guys.
just had a film crew from
USC here to document a study on blogs and research. they found the picardyproject.com
website and contacted meryl about interviewing/filming us as a part of
their research. we agreed. talked about that blog and this site as well.
they were nice guys. it'll be interesting to see how their project pans
meryl is officially full-term
now so it could be any moment that she goes into labor.
went out to pleasant hill
for an hour to help an older couple organize their garage. we felt obligated
to do it because we had helped them before. it amazes me how much people
keep around their house just because. definitely inspires me to clear the
clutter. maybe that'll be my goal on the days i have off for paternity
leave. bond with zoe by clearing the clutter.
afterwards we went to get
a quick bite to eat and then couldn't disarm the car because the alarm
remote died. went to lucky's and put the remote in the refrigerator for
a while, came back to the car and it worked. got lucky with that one. i
had a plan b, though, which was to take the battery out of my truck's remote
and use that one, but it didn't come to that.
allergies are killing us
lately. my flonase isn't doing anything anymore which is too bad because
it worked like a charm for a few years.
the baby shower last weekend
went pretty well. mom and dad didn't kill each other, sister didn't blow
a fuse, the families got along ok, all the worlds collided but all was
ok. was a good game too.
stupidly busy lately. unfortunately
i don't really have time for anything larger than a one day job these days.
for me, it all boils down to the health insurance. the lack of affordable
health insurance has probably stifled so much entrepreneurialship in this
country it's crazy to think about. meryl looked into it at one point and
it would have been over $1,000 a month for the three of us. i can't make
what i'm making now, plus matching 403b contributions, plus sick time,
plus vacation time, plus health insurance by striking out on my own. i
never use the sick time so that doesn't matter. vacation time is nice.
matching retirement is nice, reliable hourly salary is really nice. but
the kicker is the health insurance. blah.
earthquake retrofit went
pretty well and we got a bit more than half of it done. the remaining stuff
is probably the easiest (stuff under the addition where it's nice and comfy)
and the most difficult (stuff under the big room where there isn't much
finished the stainless
steel cladding at saul's yesterday. it was a bid project and i haven't
done many of those. came out ahead of the hourly rate so that's nice. customer
likes it too. i wasn't thrilled by the final product, but it's good enough
for the first time i've done anything like it or even worked with the material
in any meaningful way. now he wants more throughout the rest of the restaurant.
my phone camera takes crappy
pictures now. all the pics i take look like i put vaseline on the lens,
like a bette davis movie or something. i think the little scratches on
the lens glass are the culprit.
i think it's pretty easy
to be a conservative person once you're older and you have things figured
out. once you've had success and forgotten your weaker moments in life.
you start to let your ego grow. you convince yourself that you've made
it because of hard work and because you're such a great person. this isn't
to say that conservatism is a result of those feelings or that those feelings
lead to conservative voting, but i do think there is a correlation from
time to time.
revealed that zoe is now 6lbs 15oz, give or take 10%. at 36 weeks that's
pretty big. meryl's worried. i'm excited that i'm going to have a fat baby.
next wednesday she'll be
considered full term.
adam yauch is still dead.
i'm still depressed.
pat summerall also died
without much fanfare recently. i'll always remember him and john madden
on sundays. they were a good team even when summerall started to lose it.
i wonder how i'm going to go out.
one good thing about me
is i don't dwell much on the past. i don't look backwards much. part of
that is because i have a bad memory and part of that may be because dredging
up things in the past hasn't benefited me. one good thing about music is
that it forces you to remember things that you were thinking when you listened
to that music the first time.
one thing i don't like
is that i don't listen to albums much these days. i'm certain that there's
great music being made, but i just don't listen to it much. i hardly ever
get into new stuff these days.
boston marathon bombing
was today. yay for societal progress.
work at saul's was pretty
good. working again on wednesday. if i wasn't married to my job for the
purposes of healthcare, i'd seriously consider quitting so i could work
for myself more often.
almost finished with season
one of 24. so far it's ok, but not great. not sure that we'll continue
watching the series. each episode goes pretty quickly, but it's almost
entirely about plot. very little character depth so far (which makes sense
because of the time frame and lack of flashbacks even). we'll reevaluate
after the season is over.
not doing fantasy baseball
anymore. i hardly pay attention to baseball these days. sports in general,
really. normally i'd be getting ready for the basketball playoffs, but
that has barley registered with me.
my mom is moving up to
oakland within the next month.
this weekend a bunch of
people are coming by to help with the house. originally it was to dig out
the dry well for the sump pump, but about half of them couldn't do this
weekend and so they came on the 6th instead. the digging went well and
i was able to finish that project up this weekend by myself. so, this weekend
we'll be doing the earthquake retrofit instead. same fun location (underneath
the house), but it'll actually be less manual labor and more moving around
under the house. passing things around, measuring, installing blocking,
installing steel clips, etc. i did a little bit of it this weekend while
meryl was at work and it's the kind of thing where having several
people measuring and installing things at the same time will make it go
a lot faster and easier.
after that project is done
(i'll still have some finishing touches to do on my own after this weekend),
we'll really be in the home stretch. laundry room and a few relatively
minor projects. it will be is sellable condition by the end of the year.
just in time to ramp up the handyman business even more and transition
towards being parents.
we have a tour at kaiser
today to see the labor and delivery areas of the hospital. about 6 weeks
work at saul's tomorrow.
should be interesting working around kitchen staff in a busy restaurant.
that and parking are a challenge. also, i can't lock up the tools in the
back of the truck right now so that's a problem. looking into getting a
new door. also looking into getting a whole new truck cap with a lumber
rack or something.
meryl did my taxes for
me today. i hate the government. i hate taxes. it would be great if we
had a system that normal people could navigate in a short period of time.
one that didn't allow romney to skate by. one that didn't allow 47% of
the tax payers to pay nothing in federal income taxes. one that didn't
separate income and payroll taxes. god there's so much wrong with our system
it's just amazing.
got a job doing some stuff
at saul's deli in berkeley. little crap here and there - plumbing, electrical,
little broken things. also put in a bid for cladding the hallway with stainless
steel. got that job today. usually i don't do bid work so that was kind
of novel for me. hopefully i can do some work for them once or twice a
month to bring in some extra money. charging $50/hr for that stuff so i'm
real happy with that. hopefully do my first work for him next week. thanks
to monique for giving me the heads up on that one.
definitely busy these days.
taxes. handyman work for
neighbor. bidding and handyman work for saul's. big dig in backyard/under
house for sump pump. work on bedroom. still working on getting meryl and
miller lined up (we've been working on proposals and other paperwork lately).
watching movies. march madness. movie reviews. baby-related madness. and
all the other usual stuff.
march madness has been
a bit below average this year.
i guess we're in the nesting
stage now because we're both doing our best to get the house as done as
possible before zoe's arrival.
painted the bedroom today.
mostly done with that. trim will be next and then a second coat of paint.
this saturday we will also
tackle the sump pump dig. some people are coming over to help this week
and others will come to help in two weeks. i think that with a lot of help
we'll have little trouble getting it all done. doing it by myself (with
a 8+ month pregnant meryl), however, probably would not have gone very
got two calls this week
from yelp for handyman jobs. one probably isn't going to happen because
i think we got the message late (our phone is behind a dresser right now
because of the painting project). the other i'm going to check out tomorrow
morning. yelp, the website, and the reviews have helped us get 3 random
leads so far. one was just a tire kicker. one i don't know about. this
one tomorrow sounds like he's ready to pull the trigger. also got a job
working for our neighbor on sunday.
last week we did the structural
repair for meryl's stepdad's garage. it went better than expected. it's
not a pretty kind of job, but it's important.
baseball season has started
which means meryl has more work now. she plans on working until the baby
comes. she's had a pretty good pregnancy so far. hopefully the adage of
"good preganacy, difficult child" isn't true.
it's also tax time. last
year meryl and miller llc made about $1500. we spent some of that on supplies
and whatnot and our actual income, according to the govt., is like $900.
after llc fees we'll have made about $100 last year. yay! there are some
experiences that make you liberal and others that make you conservative.
paying taxes, making payroll (which we've yet to do), and owning a small
business are the ones that make you conservative.
jon stewart spoke eloquently
the other day about the VA debacle that's in the news lately. namely that
the VA backlog is so bad that it takes over 9 months to get the average
disability claim. this is atrocious and it's also the kind of thing that
makes one a conservative. as liberal-minded people, i think we need to
call this crap out when it happens. if we want to argue that government
should be involved in healthcare or a stronger safety net or more aggressive
regulations, then we need to help ensure that the govt. can do those things
in an equitable and timely manner. when they fail so miserably as they
have here or with the DMV or IRS or whatever other failures there are at
various levels of government, it makes us look pretty silly. conservatives
ask me all the time "why do you trust the government to do these things?"
i have a less good reason every day.
ultimately a lot of this
stuff is about incentives. we can talk about politics and bureaucracy and
those certainly slow things down and make some things difficult to get
done, but if we align the incentives of the government worker and the people
they're working for (us), then i think a lot of that stuff will fall into
place. as i wrote in an email to my dad recently:
the postal service has
an amazing workforce that visits the front door of almost all the households
in the country. it's amazing to me that they haven't been able to leverage
that into more revenue. collect data for google instead of google having
to have their own cars taking pictures of the streets, for example. use
your imagination. the infrastructure is there but they use it for only
one purpose - seems like a waste.
as for the clerks...no
government clerk has any incentive to hustle or give good customer service.
they just need to be good enough. if the line is exceptionally long, they
ignore it because it's time for their union mandated break. this is the
kind of stuff that gives unions and government a bad name. if liberals
want to win we need to weed that stuff out so people have a better experience
with government. then, maybe, people will trust those same government workers
to handle healthcare, etc. it's a failure of leadership and incentives.
good reporting from evil liberal NPR on federal disability.
lately we've been doing
a lot to try to get the handyman and design business up and running more
reliably. mostly doing the office and marketing type stuff that we can
do in our spare time and without a lot of clients.
we have two big projects
left with the house. the laundry room and the under the house stuff. the
under the house stuff includes the earthquake retrofit which is optional,
but i think worth the effort. the other thing it includes is installing
a sump pump. this isn't optional. we've done other drainage-related stuff
in the past, but it hasn't been enough. the french drain that we installed
on the side of the house may not have been big enough for the large rains.
when i actually think about it, it makes sense. at the time the pit that
we dug for it seemed plenty big, though. the pit we dug is probably only
good for 200-300 gallons of water at the most. when you do the math and
understand that the neighbor's driveway (lets estimate that conservatively
at 1,000 sq. ft.) collects 600 gallons of water for every inch of rainfall.
if only 50% of that rainfall ends up on our side of the driveway that means
the pit we dug is full after just one inch of rain. in other words, it's
enough for times like this when the rain is light and far between, but
not good enough for real downpours with little time between.
so, we'll dig a decent
sized pit under the house. in it we'll place a good sump pump. this will
take all the excess water and dump it to the backyard. it will dump it
slowly along the rock wall on the north side of the yard (by placing holes
in the bottom of the drainage pipe we'll allow some to weep out along the
way), but most of it will get dumped in a very large pit (as big as we
can make it with a day of digging) on the west part of the property. i'd
like to make the pit about 7'x3'x3' which will be good enough for about
500 gallons of water. the other options are: 1. dump the sump pump water
into the sewer line. this is usually illegal because it overwhelms the
sewage treatment plant. i'm unsure what oakland's policy is. doesn't matter,
i don't want to be part of the problem. 2. dump the water on the street.
again, i don't want to be part of the problem. i have a backyard so why
not keep the water here instead of overwhelming the storm drains? plus,
it's easier to dump the water in the back, where the problem is, than it
would be to pipe it up to the front, go under the sidewalk, etc.
is there a good reason
why you shouldn't be required to have an id to vote? i don't think so.
with the following stipulations: any changes to the voting requirements
should be made well in advance of an election. they should be made clear
to the public on the news, etc. there should be little to no cost to acquire
id and supporting documents.
not the mobile app i requested,
but a step in the right direction: report
problems in your neighborhood.
did some handyman work
for an old co-worker of meryl's. we patched a spot of drywall, replaced
smoke alarms, did some plumbing, etc. the real find of the day, though,
was the "leaky window." this is a classic example of not getting sidetracked
by what the customer thinks. a lot of times a customer will come to you
and say that they think they have a short circuit or some other malady
that they don't actually know much about. often this diagnosis can lead
you down the wrong path if you don't ignore their analysis and listen only
to the facts. in this case the window sill was swollen (it's an mdf sill)
and it was obvious that there was water getting inside somehow. in this
case though, it wasn't a lack of caulking, but too much. upon investigation
i didn't find the weep holes for the window. those are those little holes
at the bottom of a window that allow water to escape in the event that
water gets inside the frame. it turned out to be as simple as cutting away
the old caulk where the weep holes were. as soon as i found the first weep
hole i knew it because water came pouring out. we were pretty happy with
our half day's work.
afterwards we went to meryl's
stepdad's place and looked at his garage. it has some pretty significant
damage to the supporting structure (half of which is in a creek). during
the last big rain, the water and debris that the creek brought to the structure
managed to move a few of the posts. we're going to shore it up, move the
posts back into place and then add some steel to insure that it doesn't
happen again. i want to go overkill on the project, but it's not the greatest
garage in the world so i guess we're just going to make it good enough.
today was a long day of
moved my top
25 movies around a bit.
there's a new show on tv
of celebrities diving from a 10m high dive platform. society continues
to impress me.
i feel like i hardly ever
get surprised anymore. i think the internet takes away surprise. spend
a week just following stuff on the net and you are quickly made aware of
just how vast the human experience is. that kind of thing used to take
a lot of travel, lots of reading, lots of movie watching, etc. now you
could conceivably be opened up to this stuff in a matter of hours if you
were given a series of links. so, when some
guy kills three kids at school and then wears a t-shirt to the courtroom
that says "killer" and says to the courtroom "The hand that pulls the trigger
that killed your sons now masturbates to the memory" i kinda just nod my
head and say "yeah, that sounds about right." it's not very shocking because
we've all been exposed to stuff like this before. most of the people in
my generation have probably seen someone murdered on the internet. or two
girls, one cup or whatever else. i'm not sure what all this will mean for
society in 20 years.
lots of baby related stuff
recently. had the classes and then the ultrasounds and then everyone wants
to hang out and dish about the pregnancy. in the newborn care class they
said that babies are magnets. definitely seeing that. for me it's kind
of a pain, but i can see it being fun for a normal person. i definitely
underestimated the amount of interaction people would want to have with
us once this happened.
bathroom is just about
done. caulking on some trim, touch-ups, install the shower bench, install
the mirror on the recessed cabinet.
we have a few other things
in the hopper. finished building picture frames for the movie posters in
the tv room last week. meryl's closet is getting a second coat of mud tomorrow.
an outlet in the hallway. finishing up some punch list items in meryl's
office. then it'll be onto the laundry room which will be the final big
interior project (unless we decide to blow out the breakfast nook ceiling,
which actually isn't that big, but will take a while). on the exterior
we have the earthquake retrofit and drainage issues to solve (install sump
got a list of things to
do with zoe. experiments with oobleck, hydrophobic sand, launching things
into space, teaching her how to write cursive (because it'll probably be
dropped by the time she gets to school), how to change a tire/oil, canning
fruits, etc. the first couple years will be relatively boring from a teaching
perspective. wish i had kept better notes over the last 10-15 years because
i've had lots of good teaching ideas over that time, but i never thought
i would need them.
still pretty sad about
the fact that MCA isn't with us anymore. no more beastie boys. blah.
maybe i'll change my tune
some day, but if i had a kid who was one of these football players who
raped a girl in ohio, i think it'd be my responsibility to take my kid
out of the gene pool. my attitude would be that the justice system could
deal with him after i was done doing so. i'd feel like such a complete
failure as a parent if something like that happened.
been a little better about
watching movies lately. watching some older ones which is always nice.
tomorrow the glass shower
door gets installed. a day after that we'll be able to take a shower in
the political situation
continues to impress me with its stupidity. one reason why i voted for
libertarian gary johnson was because i feel the country needs a reboot
in a lot of sectors. there's so much that we do that doesn't make any sense.
if we were to create a school system from the ground up, there's no way
in hell we'd come up with what we have today. same goes for our drug policies,
our redundant military, etc. etc. etc. a libertarian in the executive office
would serve us well in that he'd strip a lot of that crap down. probably
too much for my liking, but i think that's better than adding bad laws
to bad systems. we need to take a step backward (in terms of government
control) in order to take a step forward (for society).
broke my truck cap's back
window/door yesterday. was trying to bang the bracket back into place (it
somehow had gotten off center and wasn't closing). tempered glass blew
up and rained down on my head. was picking glass out of my hair and ear
most of the night. $650 to fix that. that won't be happening so i can't
lock my tools up in the back anymore. very annoying.
had an off day today.
measurements were all wrong, not thinking clearly, etc. annoying.
got a bonus at work today.
pretty nice. our three person department did 130k better than expected
last year so we shared a small portion of that. i attribute it mostly to
the construction going on in other buildings which has brought us a lot
of business, but i'm fine with the bonus anyway.
looks like alex smith is
going to the chiefs. a new start, at the bottom. feel bad for him, but
this is probably all he could expect.
interesting that no one
seems too concerned about the sequester. dow isn't moving like i expected.
i guess society is just calling washington's bluff on this one. maxine
waters said we'd lose 170 million jobs and made every democrat and liberal
look like an idiot in the process. 1. there aren't 170 million jobs in
the entire economy. 2. govt. cutting spending across the board will likely
lead to a downturn in the economy, but this isn't the same as financial
the last two saturdays
have been spent at ryan/emily's place doing a bunch of electrical for/with
them. thankfully they helped out and so did luke/claire last weekend so
it didn't take as long as it could have. two long days, but we finished
all that was planned: 6 lights and a ceiling fan in the main room, new
light/location in dining area, new light in kitchen, new lights in all
three bedrooms, new timer switch for exterior light, a few minor drywall
patches. the major find of the project, though, was an illegal and unsafe
splice in the bedroom. someone used some aluminum lamp cord to extend a
circuit and left the splice in the wall. happy i found that one.
overall a success.
oscars were tonight. i
think my predicting days are over. i don't have the time, i'm not great
at it, it's a waste overall. if you want accurate predictions just look
at what the other awards shows are doing or look at nate silver's blog
finally finished tiling
in the bathroom today.
tomorrow i got the day
off so i'll be starting the grout and maybe i'll get the toilet in or something.
we have a lot of problems
in this country. the number one problem in my book continues to be the
unwillingness to work together, however. we'll see how things go as we
approach march 1st and the debt ceiling debacle comes up again.
worked on the bathroom
most of the day. meryl's legs have been sore lately so we decided to give
her the day off from cutting tile and i worked on other stuff. painted
the edge of the bathroom cubbies and caulked all the corners of the tile
- anywhere the tile changes plane or meets a different surface i wanted
to caulk so that the grout doesn't crack. also got the sink ready to be
mounted on the wall by installing the faucet and drain.
i'm pretty good these days
about updating the pictures
page once a month. i try to have it done right after the first of the month.
house pics are always there.
finished the first season
of the wire (again). one more season of king of the hill to go. that has
been a long one to get through... 259 episodes
watching the wire. better
than i remember. still a little overrated, but just on season one right
bbq for v-day.
still some little tiling
to do, but definitely in the home stretch for the bathroom.
working for ryan on saturday.
putting in lighting in basically his entire house, i'm guessing this will
be a multi-day project. luke will help as well. should be fun. i don't
understand why builders cheap out and have switches control outlets. just
such a lame decision. bastards.
got a lot of tiling done
today. still three walls to go, but they should be the easiest to do.
talked to meryl about her
first boyfriend today. it went something like this:
meryl: i had my first boyfriend
when i was 11. his name was danny ho.
me: well, at least he was
the "ho" in the relationship, and not you.
meryl: he was really good
me: well, at least he was
the good ball handler in the relationship, and not you.
hope to get a lot of tiling
done in the bathroom this weekend. i'd say we're about half way done. i've
been doing it and meryl has been facilitating at key points. this has been
a good method because it keeps us both busy and useful.
got a new floor jack for
the truck today. my old one was fine for the bug, but i needed to finally
get one for the truck. usually i can work under it without jacking it up,
but when the tires need to be taken off, that really isn't an option. it's
a pretty slick looking jack and i assume i'll have it for the rest of my
tried to watch Oz, but
only got through two episodes. pretty bad production values and cheesy
style. it ushered in the cable tv revolution, but it wasn't very good from
what i saw. next up is the wire. seen season one before and didn't think
much of it. everyone says i'd love it, though, so i feel obliged to give
it another shot.
the obama drone strikes
thing is pretty disappointing. some thoughts that i posted elsewhere:
This is the unfortunate
and disappointing side of Obama in my opinion. He's continued too many
of the Bush policies when it comes to fundamental human rights and it's
profoundly troubling for real liberals. Unfortunately, many of them are
just like many of the conservatives in this country when Bush was president
- they turn a blind eye to Obama's use of drones just as those conservatives
turned a blind eye to Bush's rampant expansion of the government (department
of homeland security, medicare part d, etc.) - all because the president
in question is "one of them."
So this is the problem
we're facing - rampant and illogical partisanship. Bush is OK because I'm
a conservative...nevermind that he increased spending by $1.1 trillion
a year in his eight years in office and drastically increased the power
of the government. Obama is OK because I'm a liberal...nevermind that he's
for the death penalty and executes American citizens without a trial, warrant,
or even formal charges in some cases.
Why is this able to continue?
Because people are partisan and because the two party system is the only
way to get in power (in large part because of the amount of money it takes
to win an election at any level).
The most troubling thing
to me is the tribalism and partisanship of humanity. Because liberals like
Obama so much, they let him get away with this stuff more than they would
let Bush get away with it. In the real world maybe one can argue that we
need to make sacrifices when choosing our president. OK. But that isn't
the same as not putting his feet to the fire on issues like this.
How would a liberal respond
to this same action if Bush were still president? Is it any different from
how conservatives responded to Bush's increase in government power and
spending? They were asleep because it was their guy.
Now liberals get a little
upset about this because it's their guy and "at least he's doing something
about immigration and gay equality..." I think we should hold politicians
to a higher standard in general, and especially when it's the ones we like.
Even Obama has said as much when he asked the people to hold his feet to
the fire on immigration reform.
food for thought.
on a regular basis has been a good exercise. part of it is dumbfounding
(that they believe what they believe - like the conspiracy theory stuff).
some of it is enlightening (seeing things from a different perspective
- the entitlement attitudes of some, for example). it really has strenghthened
a feeling within me that everyone has something to add in some way and
that diversity is ultimately a good thing. when you let your guard down,
there's a good deal of common ground to be had. i've also finally worn
down almost all of them. essentially they are good people just like anyone
else. different outlooks and values, but essentially just like the other
half of the country.
i see nothing wrong
with allowing women on the front lines. the front lines are blurred these
days anyway. as i posted elsewhere recently: I thought I heard before that
studies have found that women have a calming influence in stressful situations.
It makes sense to me. I'm a diversity guy, I think diversity is a good
thing - a strength. Often it's more difficult than uniformity, but, if
you let it work, then it works very well. In this case, having different
approaches to problems, having different energies, etc. can make for a
more effective force. There is an emotional component to war and maybe
a female influence to tame the testosterone can be good. This is all to
say that women don't need to be as strong as men in order to help. Just
as there are people who add very little to the country's GDP, I think it's
possible to carry less weight and run less fast on the front line, and
still contribute meaningful value. If I were a general, I would be excited
about the opportunity to discover where/how women can make our forces even
carlin isles is our fastest
some encouraging work being
done in congress now. maybe they can find a way to fix the immigration
issue and work together at the same time. they've lowered the bar so much
now that getting pretty much anything done will be considered a success.
went to meryl's family's
cabin this weekend. they had a small fire there recently so we did a little
patch to the siding and played in the snow.
got back in time today
to get some paint on the trim in the bathroom and a little waterproofing
worked on the bathroom
this weekend. nice to have a longer than usual weekend to get stuff done
and relax ( a little). other than harbaugh's little hissy fit on a challenged
call late in the game, the niners game was a good one. the harbaugh brothers
will be in the super bowl so that will no doubt be the storyline. if memory
serves, this could have happened last year, but both brothers lost in the
championship game. phil simms said that kaepernick had a great game against
the falcons. i think he had a game that fits the bill much more for alex
smith than the media's perception of kaepernick. high efficiency, one sack,
one good run, one touchdown, no ints. unfortunately he also had a couple
delay of game penalties and didn't manage the game as well as smith would
have. he does, though, now have the same record in the 2012 season as alex
smith - both are 7-2.
one thing that is nice
about this matchup is that we're virtually guaranteed to see jim harbaugh
give a proper after game handshake. it's an extremely rare thing, so that'll
be nice. keys to the game will be ravens' run defense and niners' pass
defense. how much will culliver get abused by boldin/smith? how well will
the ravens be able to contain kaepernick and matchup against the multiple
running packages of the niners?
got the shower waterproofed
and the cubbies built. also, meryl primed and painted the trim and we cleaned
up a bit. i like getting things done. wednesday we'll start laying shower
tile. lots and lots of tiling to come in the next several days off.
finally got around to updating
a couple year end type pages like the health page and my film stats.
doing an awful job of watching
older films and foreign films. the latter doesn't bother me as much as
the former. first time ever that i didn't see a single film from the 1930s.
saw only one film from the 40s, one from the 50s, two from the 60s, two
from the 70s, seven from the 80s. that's abysmal. that means only 14 prior
to 1990. pathetic and unacceptable.
lots of car stuff going
on recently. meryl's getting windows tinted tomorrow. i did my brakes a
while ago, but need to install new rotors soon. going to get new leaf spring
bracket installed next week. thought about fixing it myself, but it's the
kind of thing where if i don't get it done then i'm screwed. since it's
in the rear and the differential is there i figured i should leave it to
the pros. money is going out the window pretty quick right now.
worked on the bathroom
some more. drain is in, but not hooked up under the house yet. curb is
ready for the mud job. trim is coming along well. the pocket door could
be stronger and i'll add a little more blocking, but it's not going to
get much better without steel.
work has been lame lately.
i'm basically just a mule these days. i need a job with more autonomy and
more agency. that, or i need to get better at turning off my mind and just
doing what people say without questioning anything. i think this is how
you get to the situation you get with some workers where they don't hustle
and they don't think at all. thought and hustle are rewarded with frustration
in the system and more work so there's no point. the answer is more owners,
not less. more actual small business. more people being their own boss.
major hurdles to this are healthcare being tied to employment/cost and
didn't think it was possible,
but the national championship game was even worse than i thought. pathetic
display. totally worthless game once again.
with college football completely
corrupted from the top down and the niners having harbaugh, i just might
stop caring about football for a while.
updated the top ten movies
of the year.
got the mud job done in
the shower today. finished tiling the floor and grouting yesterday. used
urethane grout this time which is much more expensive, but doesn't stain,
flexes, and is more durable. it's used in commercial applications so it
was good to get practice with it.
ah, another year.
working on updating all
the top ten movies of the year. the archives, movie stats, and all the
other year end stuff that i need to do on this page.
started work on the bathroom
floor tile. i waterproofed it yesterday with redgard and today we got most
of the tile done. going to try to finish the floor up this weekend. plan
on using urethane grout
going back to work
tomorrow after having about a week and a half with only a day of work.