5-31-09 (17:38)
  • been better about watching movies lately, but worse about reviewing them. have about a dozen to review...
  • one step forward, two steps back. got the laundry room wall done-ish. the bad wood is out and the good wood is in. it's fairly well-weatherproofed and the drywall is up. the utility sink and washer/dryer are functional. with the drywall in it looks like an actual space now. still need to mud and tape and paint and put up the countertop (for folding clothes) and utility cabinets. further down the line is redoing the ceiling and flooring.
  • the two steps back part came today when we started installing the kitchen door and discovered far more rot than expected. major rot issues there led us to demolish the stairway (the one which was once our primary entrance point). so, that's two decks gone in a week. we still have two means of egress, though, so that's probably okay. we'll have to get a rotohammer and chip away about 15 sq. feet of stucco to expose the exterior side of the rotted structure. shore up the floor joists, remove rotted cripple wall members and replace everything. then restucco, rebuild the deck and install the door. what a pain in the ass. this is definitely the biggest surprise of our renovation so far. we'll see if the understructure in the bathroom is worse...
  • cavs were completely exposed against the magic. mike brown has to be the most overrated coach in the league. what kind of offensive genius does it take to tell his players to give the ball to lebron and stand around watching him work? if he passes it to you and you're open, take the shot. otherwise pass it back. they play a lot of one-on-one basketball and the team lacks ball movement or any kind of offensive structure. defensively they're decent.

  • 5-28-09 (22:47)

  • watching cavs game. they blew a big lead and are now in a dog fight. pathetic, one man team. mike brown was the coach of the year and i consider him highly overrated as a result. adelman did a lot more given his circumstances.
  • started doing the drywall in the kitchen the other day. finished the ceiling today. having a drywall lift helps a lot. i was able to do the entire ceiling by myself. we bought the lift knowing we could sell it later and use it on a few projects in the meantime. it'll easily pay for itself as a day's rental costs about a fourth of the purchase price and we should be able to get at least half the purchase price back upon resale.
  • need to update the movies list, seen several since the last update.
  • hope to be real productive this weekend. we tore down the back deck the other day so that's the next side project on the horizon. also started doing some demo on the bathroom because meryl's dad was around and we figured we may as well get as much help as possible. finishing up the laundry room should happen this weekend. also hope to get the kitchen door installed.
  • jon came over today to check out the progress. sometimes it seems like there hasn't been any progress. i think that feeling comes mostly from the fact that the kitchen hasn't come along as quickly as i would have liked. 5-23-09 (17:17)
  • had a little issue with the flooring the other day. a while back i looked at it and thought it looked more red than i thought white oak should look. we did some investigating and realized that the white oak that we ordered was actually red oak. lame. took it back today and got a replacement. lucky us that they took it back since we bought it months ago. now we have to wait for the new stuff to acclimate.
  • tomorrow we'll work on the laundry room exterior wall. need to cut part of it out, weatherproof it and get it ready for stucco on the outside and drywall on the inside.
  • waiting for the drywall lift to start the drywall in the kitchen.
  • cavs game last night was crazy. they blew a 20 point lead and hedo hit a great shot to pull ahead by 2 with 1.0 seconds left. lebron got the inbound pass at the top of the three point line, turned around and made the game winner before time expired. he's on my all-time team already. he just needs to learn to play more consistent defense.

  • 5-22-09 (18:05)

  • finally installed the front door on wednesday. that was a long time coming. first one i've done. it's not perfect - space between door and jamb is uneven, but it's functional. not real certain why the jamb is off the way it is. still need to do the finishing touches like the trim, stucco, painting, and patching the cement landing.

  • 5-18-09 (18:22)

  • more pictures of the tree cutting here.

  • 5-17-09 (18:51)

  • rockets lost, that was predictable, but unfortunate. lakers are a good team when kobe plays team basketball and the others get involved early. the rebounding discrepancy and height advantage were the stories of the game to me. i knew going in that the rockets were going to have to have a great game, they didn't.
  • meryl's graduation was yesterday. the ceremony itself was long and hot and full of long winded people who were full of hot air. not really, it just sounded good. she's done a good job so yesterday was a nice way of acknowledging that she's done with papers and homework.
  • luke, vern, ryan, and claire came over to watch the game and work on taking down the monkey tree in the front.
  • we watched the first half of the game and then showed claire the house. afterwards we went outside and plotted ways of taking down the tree. the neighbors weren't at home so getting onto their property to place the ladder and rope was out of the question. nevertheless we moved forward. i got on the ladder and took down some of the branches. with them out of the way we got the rope around the trunk of the tree. after some discussions on strategy and assigning roles to the various people involved (luke was captain of the five people pulling on the rope to persuade the tree away from the house, i was operating the chainsaw), we went to work. i started a wedge cut about four feet up from grade level while the five of them pulled taut on the rope to apply tension to the tree from the get go. after a bit of work i got the front wedge out of the tree. then the fun began. at this point a passerby in a minivan had stopped in the middle of the road to watch. i cut evenly from behind the trunk, towards the center of the wedge. shortly i heard the tree begin to break. i took a step back and watched it fall parallel to the face of the house. guided by luke's call to pull hard the five of them pulled on the rope which eased the tree just far enough away from the house to make for a successful felling. in falling it took out one bush up front, but we have hopes that it will survive. it didn't hit the water main or the power lines and only some of the branches grazed the front of the house, leaving no visible damage. after we exchanged high fives. luke and i worked on cutting up the trunk into 3 foot pieces while the other four broke off the branches and piled them along the side of the house. if you didn't know better and had seen it from afar, it would have looked like we had done this many times before. truth be told, luke and i had taken down one chinese elm before which was bigger, but not as precariously positioned as this one. in a matter of minutes the tree was gone off our front lawn and in pieces on the side of the house. now we have a stump in the front and several containers worth of branches on the side of our house. easily saved a few hundred bucks and had a good time in the process. many hands make light work.

  • before

    after

    5-13-09 (21:16)
  • got the door hardware installed today. will install the strike plate after i hang it.
  • john comes up from la this weekend. luke is also going to be in town to help ryan move and he'll be by to help me cut down the tree in our front yard. it's going to be a somewhat complex felling. the tree is leaning over the house and has a bend in the trunk. the initial bend of the tree has it leaning away from the house and then about six feet up the bend goes towards the house. i've estimated the tree to be 32-35 feet tall. our power line is about 39 feet away. if we cut it lower then i think it'll be easier to get it to fall away from the house (because of that initial bend away from the street in the thickest part of the trunk). if we cut it higher then we won't have to worry at all about it hitting any power lines, but it'll be tougher to get it to fall away from the house. if we could get a couple ropes high on the tree then i would worry less about the possibility of it landing on the house. absolute worst case scenario would be it falling in the opposite direction that i plan on pulling it: into the neighbor's power line and onto her house. more likely bad outcomes: it falls on our house, it's taller than i thought and hits our power line. we'll see how it goes.
  • meryl's graduation ceremony is also this weekend.
  • rockets couldn't buy a bucket in last night's game. obviously they need to win the next two. they're capable of winning at home and extending the series, but game 7 is tough. they don't have a superstar to rely on in the crunch. no mcgrady, no yao. they're also really lean on the interior. hurts their defense as well as their offense and rebounding on both ends. yao is the tallest player in the nba and mutumbo is probably in the top five. both are out. gotta feel sorry for rick adelman who continues to have shit luck. first with the trailblazers when they got to the finals twice and lost to the bulls and pistons, i believe. then he had some great years with the kings and lost to shaq and kobe, was the victim of a clear conspiracy on the part of the nba and refs which cost them the series, and also had a bad case of the injury bug - webber and bibby both missing time. now he's with the rockets and has two of the most injury-prone stars in the league. mcgrady being #1 in the league (you can bet he'll miss significant games every single year).
  • rockets clearly don't have the talent with those three guys injured. they try harder and play better defense (which i've always felt is more about game time effort than any other single attribute). offense is about preparation and skill and agility and 'x's and 'o's, but trying harder isn't going to make the ball go into the basket more often. rockets are definitely a more fun team to watch than the lakers. hate the lakers.
  • plan on installing the front door next wednesday. that'll be a long time coming. i think a lot more progress is going to be made in the coming weeks now that meryl will finally be done with all the school-related stuff and there aren't any visits from friends and family on the weekend coming up.
  • kitchen: door, drywall, paint, floor, cabinets, range hood, countertop, tile, sink, etc. laundry room: exterior wall rebuild and weatherproof, insulate, drywall, paint.
  • went on the roof today to take a look at the tree from that angle. the roof is a lot more steep than i had anticipated which limits access to the tree. also makes me rethink doing any work on the roofing myself. perhaps demo, but nothing else. difficult conditions to say the least.
  • watched several episodes of frontline while working on the door. great stuff.
  • magic appear to be the most poorly coached team in the nba playoffs. they had a big lead twice against the bulls and wasted it. saw the game last night and thought it a pathetic coaching job. if rick adelman went to the east with orlando he'd have a clear shot to the finals against the cavs. much easier road than going through the lakers and nuggets. magic should fire van gundy.

  • 5-9-09 (21:18)

  • people are starting to realize that the swine flu was a bunch of hype. hilarious.
  • got a good amount done today. meryl helped all day and we got the drain for the laundry room in as well as putting in the gas supply. we are almost able to do a load of laundry. we still need a vent for the dryer, but that'll come in a couple weeks because it involves a lot of other work on the exterior wall (water damage). also need to add some support for some of the drain pipe and gas pipe. some fine tuning tomorrow and we should be basically in business.
  • long day.
  • hate the lakers. rockets have to win the next one or they're done. david stern is probably going to get his way, though, and it'll be a lebron/kobe finals.

  • 5-7-09 (10:13)

  • lakers game was trash. crawford had it in for artest and threw him out based upon reputation. so, as he judged artest prematurely, i judge him prematurely - he doesn't like artest and wanted an excuse to throw him out. he's done this before with tim duncan (and was suspended by the league) so i have cause to believe this. asshole. david stern wants a kobe/lebron finals and won't let the rockets or anyone else get in the way of that outcome. asshole. rockets are doomed because the chips are stacked against them. nba sucks.

  • 5-1-09 (18:04)

  • rockets-lakers game was a good one. rockets are my favorite team right now. they have adelman and artest (ex-kings) as well as battier (one of the best defenders in the league) and yao (solid player, no nonsense type of game). brooks was a joy to watch and had a big game. rebounding was awful, but the rockets got the win. would love to see adelman pull off a win against his rivals. realistically they're a player away from being real contenders. mcgrady is not that player. would love to see more offense run through yao like adelman did with divac. yao isn't as good a passer, but he's bigger and an adequate passer. rockets actually play defense so that's fun to watch too.
  • got a pretty good arc welder on craigslist yesterday for $60. pretty sweet deal. will come in handy from time to time. 5-1-09 (18:04)
  • rockets made the second round of the playoffs, that's good news. artest is better than mcgrady.
  • got the front door framed and it's waiting to be hung in the opening. need to get the opening prepped. not sure exactly what i'm going to do with the sill.
  • ran a new circuit to the laundry room, need to add a couple outlets.
  • still need to rehang the door in the kitchen as well as insulate. main goal this weekend, though, is getting the front door in.
  • it's fucking raining again. hate that shit. makes everything slower and more messy. wouldn't be able to survive as a contractor in seattle.

  • swine flu is way overrated. according to the WHO numbers i got today the mortality rate is like 3% for those that get it and not that many people have gotten it. wake me up when a 1,000 people have died.