8/30/11 (16:40)
  • installed the cabinet on sunday. worked out pretty well. we had to do a fair amount of electrical which took longer than anything else. it was the first true bookcase i've done and the first built-in so i'm pretty happy with it. a couple things i would have done differently if i could redo it, but overall i'm satisfied with how it turned out. to the lay person it looks pretty professional. the oil/water hybrid from kelly-moore was a good paint to work with. the waterborne alkyds are getting more popular and i think they're the wave of the future for trim and built-ins. oddly, though, kelly-moore only had 1 gallon in stock.
  • going to work for meryl's property management company tomorrow. she's still working on a place in sf for her brother and she needs a handyman. we'll see how that goes. plumbing. ugh.
  • not psyched about my welding class tonight. i've learned some things, but it hasn't been great so far. i just want to get to the welding. it's a bit of overkill to take a 3+ month course just to learn arc welding, but that's what they offer and i'll learn a lot of other things as well so that's always good.
  • pretty pessimistic these days about the state of our culture, economy, country and political system. things are going to get worse before they get better. we haven't done anything substantive to address any of our core issues.

  • 8/24/11 (13:06)

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

  • 8/16/11 (18:59)

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



  • 8/15/11 (17:14)

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

  • 8/12/11 (17:12)

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



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

  • 8/10/11 (22:27)

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

  • 8/3/11 (18:36)

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

  • 8/1/11 (08:14)

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

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