probable start date of
3/3 for garage.
in the last week while
driving to/from work i've seen the following events: accident in left lane
of highway 13 (two land highway). lady who was hit gets out of car while
both cars are still in left lane and begins berating driver of second car.
he gets out of car, puts on his shoes and looks at the damage. i drove
by and told them to get out of the middle of the road. two days later on
highway 580e (4-5 lane interstate). in the second lane from the left a
gmc tahoe with flashing lights on the inside (unmarked, but possible undercover
vehicle?) stops a guy on the highway. guy in the tahoe gets out of his
suv and walks up to the other car and starts talking to him. this is on
a highway with a posted speed limit of 65mph. today on my way back from
work two cop cars speed by me on telegraph ave. i catch up with them a
few blocks later and they're in front of a whole foods market along with
3-4 other cop cars. i see one cop taking a man in handcuffs to a cruiser.
the other cops have their guns drawn (including one with a rifle who is
behind a tree) and are pointing their guns at another guy who drops to
his knees. lady cop begins cuffing him and a guy cop comes up and pushes
the guy's face on the ground (minimal damage, didn't look abusive to me)
and helps cop #1 cuff the guy. i drive away.
last night, about 100 yards
from where i work a small riot broke out in berkeley. it started as a protest
and it got out of hand. there were fires, two arrests, a couple broken
windows and a bunch of vandalism in a nearby campus building.
yesterday during work i
was walking to my car and saw the following: construction site at corner
of bancroft/dana, big forklift (the kind that can lift loads 4-5 stories
high) has basic 4" strap hanging from one of its tines. this 4" strap is
connected to another 4" strap which is roughly in the middle of a delivery
of TJIs. they're
probably 20' long and though TJIs aren't as heavy as beams or solid sawn
lumber, they're not light either. i'd guess about 5lbs/ft which means each
TJI is about 100lbs and they had at least 8-10 in this pack, so easily
800lbs of weight being lifted by a single 4" strap which is connected to
another 4" strap in a figure 8 loop. they had three guys running this operation
- one blocking traffic from turning onto dana which is where the forklift
was. one running the forklift and one at the top of the fourth floor which
is where the TJIs were going to be delivered. when i saw it the joists
were already at about a 10 degree angle and were looking shaky to my eyes,
but i've never run a forklift so what do i know? one the way up the load
hits the side of the new structure and it starts twisting (because only
one strap is attached to it, instead of two or more points of support as
a sane person might recommend). when the load gets to about the third floor
it shifts to the point that it's now about 20 degrees out of level and
ready to slip out of the loop and fall. the guy at the top tells the guy
running the lift to bring it back down and about two seconds after he reverses
course (starts bringing the load to the ground) it takes the express route
down by slipping out of the loop and crushing the remaining lumber below.
thankfully no pedestrians or workers were underneath because they would
so, one riot, one near
shootout, one construction debacle, and two roadway incidents all in one
week. city living, yes, but that doesn't explain it all. this place is
i find that i sometimes
give the benefit of doubt too much. in the construction situation it was
clear to me (because i have a basic understanding of fundamental physics)
that the friction force of the lumber (which was wrapped in plastic) and
the strap wasn't likely going to be sufficient to keep the load from slipping
out of the pathetically supported strap they rigged up. instead of running
over there and telling them that they could kill someone, i deferred to
their judgment saying to myself "well, they're the experts, they do this
everyday, so i'm sure they took the proper precautions." while i was walking
over there to look at the operation i started running through scenarios
in my head. i had my cellphone and i knew what i would do if someone was
hurt, but i didn't do anything to prevent it because i had more faith in
their experience than my common sense.
sven kramer got really
screwed out of a gold medal the other day. his coach told him he was in
the wrong lane so at the last minute he made an illegal lane change and
it cost him the medal. this is the nature of sports sometimes. the line
between greatness and infamy is incredibly thin. ask dwight clark or bill
buckner or sven kramer's coach or a million other guys who were defined
by a single moment. in this case it wasn't really kramer's fault, he trusted
his coach to do his job and it was an epic mistake. pretty heartbreaking
stuff when you've worked four years towards a goal and one moment smashes
curling has been exciting.
we got into it in 2006 and picked it up again this time. this time around
i know a lot more of the lingo and some of the strategy. there are still
element that elude me from a strategy standpoint, though. i don't think
that the americans are very good. shuster in particular seems to think
he can do a lot more than he can actually do. with any sport there is the
best move and there is the best move that you can actually execute. if
i'm playing basketball and the defender is weak going to his left the best
move might be to drive to his left and dunk the ball on his head. however,
in reality that's not going to happen so the best practicable move might
be to drive to his left and take a short jumper off the glass. the american
team often has found itself in a position where a great shot would work
wonders and they go for it only to find that they can't execute like the
canadians or brits. throughout their play they were unable to throw the
proper weight and the rocks weren't drawing well for them either. we need
to assemble curling teams like we do with basketball - get the best guys
together, let them train together for a while and then throw them into
the olympics. it's a team sport and communication is important, but curling
really doesn't require the same chemistry as many other team sports.
the canadians have a woman
on the curling team who is 5 months pregnant. only other olympic sport
that i could think of that you could reasonably compete without great loss
of talent was archery. all the others are either too strenuous or too dangerous.
back is pretty good today.
once it got warmed up and the naproxen had a chance to do its thing that
helped. will still try to take it easy the next couple days. other that
that, though, i need to work more around the house so that i work the back
at a low level more frequently so the harder days aren't such a shock.
it occurred to me that
renting the jackhammer the other day was the first time we had rented a
tool since we've been here. i've either purchased the tool or purchased
it and then sold it or borrowed it from the lending library. so $67 in
tool rentals after 14 months isn't too bad.
i've rated about 10% of
the 34,000 songs i have. the goal is to have them all rated by the end
of the year. hopefully doing that will generate enough 1-star songs that
i'll be able to fit everything i want on the ipod. right now there are
about 29500 songs on there so i've got to weed out quite a few.
good hockey game between
the us and canada today. we beat them in spite of getting less than half
as many shots on goal. great goaltending by miller. great victory. i believe
that's the first win we've had over them in like 50 years so that's a pretty
back kept me on the couch
most of the afternoon and night. would have been nice to get some more
work done this weekend. don't feel i've had a really productive weekend
in a while.
worked on some of the preliminary
garage electrical this weekend. meryl was gone yesterday so i ran the cable
to the exterior wall of the house under the crawl space. installed an LB
which will connect to conduit on the inside and outside to carry the cable
underground to the garage panel. today we rented a jackhammer and dug a
trench from the house to the garage. we still need to dig a little bit
of it out, but it's mostly done. have a fair amount of concrete that we'll
have to dispose of as a result. most of the rest of the electrical will
have to wait until the garage is done. i don't want to run electrical to
a building that's not stable and finished structurally.
haven't been great about
watching the olympics this time around. i'm usually glued to the tv at
this time, but that's not how it's worked out so far.
had a couple break-ins
in the neighborhood in the last couple weeks. can't say that i love oakland.
back is hurting after digging
the trench and using the jackhammer. it's heavy lifting.
may start work on the garage
in 9 days. haven't signed contract yet, hope to do that early next week.
had originally hoped to get it out of the way today and start monday, but
contractor had another job waiting and it's happening next week so we got
bumped since we weren't locked in yet.
plan on working on some
of the early electrical this weekend. might also get some other under the
house work done this weekend so long as it doesn't rain.
james cameron was on fresh
air the other day and i found it to be a fairly annoying interview. it
seemed more of a circle jerk than an interview which may be nice if you're
in love with cameron and avatar. he talked about how avatar was special
because it features a handicapped protagonist and that no one is talking
about it. i talked about it in book of eli and hong kong films did that
about a thousand times in the 70s. terry gross gushed over the film for
the first 20 minutes of the interview, which was about all i wanted to
listen to. i think cameron's early stuff is great and the guy had talent,
but his recent stuff doesn't tell stories and build characters like his
older stuff did. avatar is officially way overrated as is the entire idea
of 3d, which i see my entire life and don't need on film.
terry gross is usually
pretty good as an interviewer, though i'm not in love with her. charlie
rose may be my favorite interviewer. michael krasny is good, but can be
too pedantic at times and sometimes likes to show off within an interview.
i like charlie rose's style more because he allows the interviewee to speak.
he makes corrections in course and is genuinely interested in what they
are saying, but he has no ego. his goal is to get them to talk as much
and deeply as possible about what they are most known for, and i appreciate
saturday i painted the
closet and worked on the back part of the house. the rim joists on the
addition were really rotten so i braced a critical part under the
garage and then took out all the rotten stuff. got new pt 2x8s and replaced
the old with the new. put in one post per joist at anchor bolt locations
so that the base wouldn't ever move. placing the posts this way meant that
one of the posts wasn't nicely centered under the joist, but i'd rather
have the post firmly secured to the sill plate than have it centered on
the load. meryl helped install the hardware and one of the posts yesterday
when she was around. now that she has her internship she's not around on
we also planned out how
we're going to use the animal room part of the addition. we plan on putting
in a new, smaller window. installing a new door, closing off the water
heater, restructuring the south wall, adding drywall, and then installing
carpet. it'll be a little seating area/office space. i think it'll work
out. we also plan on making the smaller bathroom into the bedroom bath
with a larger casement style window which will fulfill our egress requirement
for the bedroom. i think it's a good plan and it seems doable.
nice little test about political news. i got 11/12 and the one i got was
the one that was answered correctly by the most people. the question was
about which country owns most of our debt and i immediately thought of
china, but went with japan because i had heard recently about japan's own
debt problems and the report ended by saying something about owning a lot
of our debt so they weren't necessarily in such a bind. to be fair, japan
holds 751.5 billion of our debt and china owns 798.9 billion. so i was
very close, i just thought about it too much.
that quiz is interesting
too because today i was in the office with two seniors at cal (best public
university in the world) and one graduate of cal (my boss). i asked the
three of them two questions because they were talking about john mayer:
do you know who kim kardashian is? they all replied yes. then i asked them
all if they knew who howard zinn was. they all replied no. it's not that
everyone in the country should know of zinn, but it would be nice if one
in three cal grads (or near grads) knew who one of the most important historians
in u.s. history was. this should be especially true since he died in the
last couple weeks so his profile would theoretically be elevated right
called feinstein and boxer
today to talk about the consumer protection agency that elizabeth warren
has proposed. feinstein's office was staffed and boxer's office was a voicemail
box. i haven't called a congressperson in a long time and i should do that
more often. warren inspired me to do it when she made an appearance on
the daily show and i thought about not doing it because i figured feinstein
and boxer would support it anyway, but then i figured i should call anyway.
it took about 4 minutes to find their numbers and call both of them yet
it's the first time in years that i've called or written. this is one of
the problems with the country. i know better, i know how, and yet i don't
do it more often. gotta work on that.
got one bid in for the
garage foundation and it was like 14.5k which is crazy. obviously the guy
didn't want to do the job otherwise he would have been more reasonable.
waiting on one more guy to come by and another to submit his bid.
new dodge charger:
new dodge challenger:
new chevy camaro:
new chevy corvette:
new ford mustang:
have been meaning to comment
on american muscle cars, but haven't gotten around to it. dodge in particular
has done a good job with their recent models. the new charger has been
out a while and they more recently came out with the new challenger. both
look really good and are a return to the 60s/early 70s style that american
cars were known for. of course the vette has always been nice, but now
the camaro and most recent mustang have returned to form as well. it's
nice to see that they are getting back to what they did well back then.
of course there is balance that they've learned as well with cars like
the cobalt and focus which are geared towards the average person. the focus
is the new escort and that was a very popular and successful car for ford.
i like toyota, but i'm becoming a ford person. i've owned two of their
vehicles and been generally happy with them. i also bought their stock
when they were at $5 and now it's at 11 so that doesn't hurt either.
found myself rooting for
the saints most of the game and they won by the same number that i said
they wouldn't win by. don't listen to me for sports predictions. it was
nice to see manning rack up a bunch of yards, but only 1 td. then, down
seven, he throws a pick six. then knocking on the door he throws another
ball that should have been intercepted in the endzone. that said, he should
have had another td if reggie wayne could have caught the perfectly thrown
ball on the goal line. manning may be the best of this generation, but
he's certainly not the best in the game's history. i'd rather have steve
young and joe montana. in two superbowls manning has an unimpressive total
of 2tds and 2ints in 80+ attempts. that's what you'd expect from trent
dilfer or brad johnson, not peyton manning. the next few years will be
interesting to see how the duel between brady and manning shakes out. when
the pats were about to go 19-0 everyone talked about him as the best qb
of all-time. he had the best season of all-time, but didn't do much in
the superbowl so that discussion was put on the back burner. they're both
good, but neither is joe montana.
got two themes from the
ads during the sb. america is (still) great and being a guy is kind of
a drag sometimes. the first one i understand because of the economic times.
the second one was mostly manifested in ads that showed women nagging guys
or dragging them along for shopping on game days or whatever. weird.
the superbowl is starting
soon. doesn't feel like a big game to me this time. i don't care about
either team. i have reasons to root against each team, but only one reason
to root for either. i had a $5 bet with my dad that the saints wouldn't
win the sb. we made that bet before they beat the vikings (who i thought
would win two weeks ago). on the other hand i'm not a huge fan of peyton
manning or the colts. also don't like the saints so i don't really care.
also not watching the game with anyone so it has diminished interest for
that reason. think i'll just paint while the game is on.
had the colts by five last
week when the line was -4. now i think it's at -5 so even if i'm wrong
at least i'm on pace with the odds makers. i could see the colts winning
by 14, but i don't see the saints winning by that many.
not sure what we're doing
about the garage. we talked about it a while and neither of us like the
fact that the cost has gone up so much, especially after the contractor
made it seem like it wasn't a difficult project. however, i don't know
how much less we can expect to pay for something as risky and involved
as this is at this point. in a few months this will just be a fond memory,
i think that's the best way of looking at it at this point.
usc has moved up in the
recruiting rankings by scouts and rivals which is surprising. they pulled
in some guys who were borderline, which is even more surprising considering
they lost carroll and ken norton jr. pac-10 recruited really well according
to rivals. hiring kiffin quickly and getting staff sorted out turned out
to be a good thing from a recruiting point of view. once sanctions issue
is sorted out we'll see what the fallout is from that. most people don't
know, but alabama won national championship this year despite having restrictions
on their scholarships. so sanctions aren't the end of the world, but they
can certainly hurt; and of course it's a matter of degree. losing bowl
eligibility is death.
sarah came over today and
helped clean out garage. few things left in there to take care of, but
she helped me get the bulk of the stuff that i hadn't already taken care
of. soon the garage will be fully ready for the overhaul. big lumber should
arrive midweek at which point we'd be ready to go. still need to order
rebar. also need to take out the workbench/drawer unit which is attached
to the wall right now. hopefully i don't have to destroy it to get it out.
will probably paint the
foyer area today. tomorrow will mostly be dedicated to watching the super
bowl. probably get another coat on the foyer while i watch that.
just got the contractor's
proposal. it was higher than i anticipated. he told me last night that
he couldn't do it for our initial budget (5k) and i told him we were flexible,
but this bid (8.5k) is beyond what i expected when i said "flexible." i
was hoping for under 7k. eventually i talked him down to 7.5k if i took
on some more work and bought some of the lumber for the shoring. this garage
has gotten to be a much bigger project than anticipated. we were originally
hoping we could bring it back to plumb for a few hundred bucks in materials
and now we're looking at more like 10k. of course for that money we get
a structure that will withstand an earthquake and has a new perimeter foundation,
but that doesn't take much of the sting out of it. then again, all this
is coming full circle because when i saw the garage for the first time
my first thought was that it was going to cost $10k to get it right. that's
like 5 months of earnings just to fix a garage. in the long run, though,
the garage, as is, will scare off a lot of buyers and lower the price by
10-15k. don't think meryl is going to like this.
told you we have to worry
about those shark attacks. people in u.s. who have died from terrorism
in 2010: 0. people in u.s. who have died from shark attacks in 2010: 1.
the sharks are winning.
meryl gone this weekend.
sarah coming tomorrow for a couple hours to help clean out the garage.
hopefully we can get it ready for the work that needs to be done in there.
supposed to meet with contractor john in 10 minutes to come up with plan
and sign papers.
i think much of the gridlock
in congress is because it's congress and because the republicans are stubborn
and the dems are inept. however, it also occurred to me that it's partially
obama's inexperience. he's never been an executive like george bush was
(gov. of texas). he cut his teeth in congress. so you'd think he'd know
more about navigating congress, but i think he didn't know enough about
how to execute a vision like healthcare. he admitted his mistakes in a
recent interview, but i think this may be part of the reason that we don't
vote congressmen into the presidency very often.
ordered the big beam and
mudsills for the garage project today. also got a bunch of hardware that
we'll need for tying all the various beams and headers and chords together.
still much more to buy because home depot didn't have everything in stock.
meryl's been getting more
actual work done on the house lately. she's been sewing the curtains for
the various windows around the house. when she's done we'll have new curtains
on almost all the windows in the house.
there's a torn bumper sticker
that i see on my way to work all the time that reads "you ow god." i assume
it once read "be your own god." but the way it is torn makes it look as
though it says "you owe god." whoever tore it either did so in a very smart
manner or got really lucky because the tear totally flipped the original
meaning on its head.
worked on getting a quote
for the steel plates from the engineer's drawings today. part of the truss
repair requires 18 steel plates be made to tie the web system together.
we'll see how much they want for this. one guy quoted $300 which seems
fairly reasonable. i'm hoping the other guy will be cheaper because he's
got the engineer's drawings
today. going to pore over them tomorrow. need to make a sequence list as
well as a materials list. this is a big project relative to everything
else we've done so far. hoping the structure will take 3 weeks once we
got my truck serviced
today. it had a recall notice on it so i got that taken care of.