1-31-10 (15:38)
  • talked with the contractor today about the garage. until we get the engineer's work (should be done tomorrow) i can't really do a heck of a lot of planning, but we talked broadly about numbers and what he'd do vs. what i'd do. i'm hoping that we'll get the specs from the engineer and have this week to get some of the materials we need to get started. it'll give us time to clean out the garage and get everything ready for them. the custom metal pieces and larger beams will probably take a while to get, though i've never purchased a 20' long 6x10 beam so i don't know what it'll take to get that. plus it'll have to be delivered and all that so starting in two weeks seems more reasonable than starting next week.

  • 1-30-10 (12:38)

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

  • 1-29-10 (17:08)

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

  • 1-28-10 (17:49)

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

  • 1-27-10 (16:35)

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

  • 1-24-10 (19:29)

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

  • 1-22-10 (18:35)

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

  • 1-21-10 (12:59)

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

  • 1-19-10 (17:24)

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

  • 1-18-10 (15:06)

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

  • 1-12-10 (18:16)

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

  • 1-10-10 (22:20)

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

  • 1-8-10 (18:44)

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

  • 1-7-10 (16:47)

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

  • 1-5-10 (20:41)

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


  • art room not so long ago:

    1-1-10 (23:02)

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

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