5-31-10 (23:13)
  • worked on the bathroom today. didn't really feel like it at first, but got rolling later in the day. replaced the rotten wood on the exterior wall - bottom plate and some of the studs. also framed for the new window and installed that. we've gotten pretty good at installing new construction windows. next step is learning how to install retrofit windows which is a different process. next step for the bathroom is doing the floor and the shower water supply.
  • wrote a letter to doc rivers. more of a scouting report than a letter, actually and it wasn't really addressed to him since i compiled it during the last series. i addressed it to him and wrote "urgent, scouting report" on the back.
  • to whom it may concern:

  • i'm a long time laker hater and after watching opponents constantly play the lakers incorrectly i decided to compile a simple and short list of notes about playing the lakers under phil jackson's reign of terror. i hope you will take them and implement them to your success to defeat our common enemy.

    KOBE
    -don't foul him, if you do foul him, make him feel it
    -stay on your feet
    -don't try to get under his skin with smart talk, it's just fuel for him
    -at some point in the series he'll have an unstoppable quarter. double-team him and get the ball out of his hands in these instances.
    -other than his hot streaks, play him straight up. best defense is ball denial. also make him work on defensive end. he doesn't get tired, but you have to make him work throughout the game and series. it may help by the end of the series.

    PAU
    -box out at all times
    -double team in first quarter. best chance is to stop him early so he doesn't get hot.

    FISHER
    -a real weakness on defense. just ask aaron brooks and russell westbrook
    -use his weakness to open up your three point shooters and create opportunities from help defense
    -stay on him in the last four minutes of a close game. don't let help come from fisher at this point, he will burn you. trust me.

    ODOM
    -biggest waste of talent in modern sports
    -let him float along. pay no attention to him. don't rile him. just sweet talk with him about his awesome life or growing up in queens or something harmless and not basketball related. he's easily distracted and actually would rather not play basketball. let him not play basketball and disappear into the background.
    -if he does happen to wake up then good luck defending him. he's a defensive nightmare.

    ARTEST
    -formerly one of my favorite players
    -if he gets hot then you don't stand much of a chance in a seven game series because the lakers are too good.
    -guard him against the drive. let him take jumpers all day long.
    -he's someone you can manipulate with words and get under his skin. he will implode.
    -pray that jackson doesn't let him goto work in the post.

    BYNUM
    -mostly a joke. gets opportunity points. play him straight up and play typical fundamental defense and he won't hurt you much.

    BENCH:
    -most of these guys are the same guys who were there for the championship run so don't buy the hype about them being thin.
    -walton is a great passer, but get in his face and he will make bad decisions or turn the ball over.
    -farmar is an adequate fill in for fisher. you want him shooting more than passing.
    -vujacic can get going quick. another guy you don't want to play mind games with because he can thrive on this. only need to play tight on him in the event that he starts sinking some shots. then close in on him quickly to get him out of his rhythm.

    good luck, i'm rooting for you
    chris miller

    5-31-10 (09:47)

  • left for fresno on thursday night. saw my grandma, visited for a bit and then went to sleep.
  • next day my aunt and cousins came over and we spent some time with all of them. went to the dog park and played with their dogs, talked a bit and that was about it.
  • then we hurried over to the forestiere underground gardens. forestiere spent most of his life in fresno digging out a home for himself. he planned on making the underground gardens a resort, a getaway from the heat of the central valley, but that never really worked out. it's pretty amazing to see what the guy did on a shoestring budget with basic tools and a lot of hard work. impressive stuff.
  • next we left fresno and took the scenic route to san luis obispo where we watched a movie, watched the celtics game, and ate at woodstock's pizza. at night we drove a bit towards our next destination and found a place to sleep in the car.
  • next morning we had breakfast in morro bay and walked around morro rock a bit. we went out onto the rocks and i got a little too close to the crashing waves and got wet. we worked our way up highway 1 until we got to hearst castle. i had been there before, but it had been a while so it was nice to visit it again, this time with a different point of view. actually, i had been to all the places we went on this trip because my family didn't take trips outside of california more than a few times (twice i went to alabama and once to hawaii on my grandfather's dime, and once i went to the four corners with my dad). seeing hearst castle this time from a handyman's point of view i thought about the builders who originally worked on the house and the work they had done and how well most of it had held up. i also thought about the current caretakers and what they must go through to make sure everything matches or doesn't do more damage than good. repointing brick is a good example. it's an old house so the mortar is probably lime based, rather than cement based. so they have to have it tested and reproduce the mix so that the brick doesn't break later down the line. what a headache.
  • on the road again, this time to monterey and the monterey bay aquarium. saw elijah wood and dana stublefield while we were there so that was kinda neat i guess. frodo is tiny. the aquarium isn't cheap, but it's got plenty to look at and much of it is stuff you're not going to see in real life in any other setting. meryl was underwhelmed.
  • after that we went for a little drive in pebble beach and saw the cypresses there. they're getting ready for the u.s. open.
  • stopping by luke's ranch was next on the agenda so we drove up to soquel for a visit. johnny, vern and ryan were also there along with their respective girlfriends. hadn't seen them in a while so that was good. had a campfire talk which is always nice. then watched the last few minutes of the lakers/suns game which was disappointing.
  • next morning we went to johnny and leigh's to check out their mold situation. turns out they have quite a few little projects to do around the house. i'd like to get to the point where i am confident enough to do every project around the house. not only because it would be good for me and my hopeful career, but also because it would be nice if i had experience doing enough things that i could advise people on how to move forward. a lot of what i'm able to do is from reading books or knowing how things should look in the end. getting there is another story. a lot of times you just have to figure things out as you're going. i think the next step in the evolution is knowing ahead of time what is likely to crop up and knowing how to address it before it happens. anticipation vs. read and react.
  • after visiting with them some more that morning we headed off to the mystery spot, but it was booked solid for the day so we headed off to the winchester mystery house. once at the winchester mystery house we did both tours - the mansion tour and the grounds/behind the scenes tour. the behind the scenes tour was nice, but could have been even better. it would have been nice if they gave us all flashlights and coveralls so we could crawl under the house some more to check out the plumbing and structure. it would have been neat to see how they did certain things. we did see the basement, but it wasn't as exhaustive a tour as i would have liked. again, i've been to the winchester mystery house, but seeing it this time was different. again i looked at it from a construction perspective. what would it have been like to be one of the workers building this house for such a weird old lady? the craftsmanship wasn't as good at that house as it was at the hearst house. the turnover was likely higher and the lack of a real architect (vs. julia morgan, who is one of the better architects of the time) probably contributed to this. that said, the finishes were quite nice, especially near the entryway.
  • after the mystery house we went home and took it easy.

  • 5-27-10 (17:26)

  • getting tomorrow off. four day weekend is nice.
  • did some shoring of the exterior wall in the bathroom. when i get back to work on that i'll cut out the old bottom plate and replace it with some fresh wood. then i'll cut out rotten studs one by one and replace.
  • open to suggestions on hardiebacker vs. durock/wonderboard. i've used plenty of durock and wonderboard in the past and i know it holds up well because i've seen it stored outside with no negative consequences, but hardie board also looks good and seems easier to work with. if you have experience with hardiebacker lemme know.
  • going to see the fresno family this weekend as well as do some other fun stuff with meryl. would love to have four days off in a row to work on the house, but i guess taking a break isn't such a bad idea either.

  • 5-26-10 (17:55)

  • sunday sarah and i worked on cleaning a patio for a guy i've done some work for before. monday after work we went back and finished the job by putting on a coat of lacquer for stone patios.

  • 5-22-10 (20:01)

  • ran again this morning.
  • worked on getting a solution to the toilet drain most of the day. as best i can tell, the only kosher way of doing it is to drill out the old insert, clean it all up, put in a cast iron stub, pack the space with lead wool and then join to the cast iron stub. the guy i talked with was an old plumber and he said that his starting rate for a job like that is was $350 and it goes up from there. seemed like a total pain in the ass and i'm not sure about the availability of lead wool these days. so i stubbed out with abs and used plumbing-specific epoxy to make the connection. once dry, i'll reach my hand inside to smooth the transition so waste won't work its way back between the abs and cast iron insert. if this doesn't work...i'll have to do it the hard way.

  • 5-19-10 (18:05)

  • ran in the morning. meryl did more than i did.
  • a couple came over to take some of our dirt so that was good. we're down to one pile now.
  • also took a load of trash to the dump.
  • worked on demo in the bathroom. rot is worse in some spots and not as bad in others than we had originally thought. it doesn't spread as much into the room as we thought, but it did rot out the bottom plate so that's unfortunate. it's an exterior wall so replacing that  will be an interesting process. we replaced one joist and got started on another. our toilet drain is made of lead which i've never seen before. i've heard of pouring hot lead into the joints which are usually packed with oakum (hemp), but never heard of a drain made entirely of lead. unsure how we're going to get that out and put in a new drain. would like to use abs. will need to find a way to get all the lead out and transition from cast iron hub to abs. we'll figure it out.

  • 5-18-10 (20:27)

  • been working on sorting through a lot of music lately. takes forever.
  • also been working on updating comments on house pictures and should upload updates tonight.
  • don't think this bp spill is in the top ten oil spills of all-time yet. interesting that berkeley hasn't been more up in arms about this oil spill for two reasons. first it's a major environmental disaster. second, ucb has a $500 million partnership with bp which wasn't well-received at the time and can't look any better now that bp is in the position they're in. guess finals and graduation and immigration knocked the oil spill off the protest docket.
  • the oil spill is big news for the rest of the country of course and i think that's a bit of good news. like the war in iraq we don't have a stomach for this stuff like we may have had at one point. at this point the war in afghanistan has lasted about as long as the war in vietnam (depending upon how you count it) and a 50th the number of people have died. while the outrage now isn't like it was against vietnam, i don't think it's a 50th the size. you get the point.
  • stone paper writes smoother than wood-based paper and apparently uses less water and energy to make. not sure how well it works with copy machines, but this could be the future.
  • here's a low hanging fruit to take some of the wind out of the sails of the (too) big (to fail) banks: make it illegal to charge any fee of any kind for using the atm of another bank. if i could use a b of a atm for credit union withdraws and deposits then i'd wouldn't have any problem switching.
  • some talented kids out there. alaska was the only state to have not submitted anything. pretty pathetic.

  • 5-17-10 (20:59)

  • suns don't have much of a chance in this series because they don't know what defense is. pretty pathetic to have the same problem for 6 years and not have made much progress in that time. celtics are the best team in the nba right now if you ask me. best coaching. best core four players. best defense. it should be them and the lakers and the celtics should win if they stay disciplined and focused. lakers will have homecourt though and it's a 2-3-2 series which i've never liked so it'll definitely be a fight.
  • meryl's parents came over yesterday and we had some rockband and eating. we cleaned the house and did errands during the day.

  • 5-12-10 (21:59)

  • took care of a bunch of little tasks around the house today. meryl was scraping paint off the garage door windows most of the time. i built another dvd case, this time using just scraps from other projects. doesn't look as good, but only thing i need to buy was some masonite backing which was $7. a clear pine case would have cost about 12 times that amount.
  • when we got the house a 4x8 sheet of osb was $7, now it sells for $15.50. other wood products have also gone up in price (2x4s up by 10%, plywood up about 10%), but osb has increased most dramatically. it's most likely a demand issue because supply can't have changed much since it's just made of glue and wood chips. osb is the goto material for sheathing these days so i guess it makes sense.
  • saturday we're going to do a little landscaping project in the back yard.
  • still have two big piles of dirt that need to disappear. hopefully we'll figure out a place for that to go on saturday.

  • 5-10-10 (17:46)

  • the weather is shit again. rained sporadically during the day. perhaps this is el nino related. maybe it's global warming, er climate change.
  • speaking of which, i believe in the science of global warming and definitely think that humans caused it or contributed to it greatly, but i don't have much faith in any of the computer models that show sea level rises of 3-50 feet and temperature changes that will wipe out X% of the world's species. i just don't have faith in science's ability to predict the future, especially when it comes to something as complex as the climate. especially when said climate can be changed so quickly and dramatically by things like a volcanic eruption.
  • going to start the running regime again today.

  • 5-9-10 (11:07)

  • got a decent amount done yesterday. worked in the backyard weeding, mowing the lawn, filling up the new shed, and generally cleaning up. still have a lot of trash bags and dirt to move, but things are moving along.
  • rained last night which is lame. not sure when this weather is going to get on track. rain doesn't exactly inspire me to get a lot done.
  • the new heating system is going to make working under the house more of a pain because there's less room down there now. had plans to reposition the main plumbing line and that may not be feasible anymore; at least without rerouting it in a much different way. original plan was to move it down a bit so that it didn't get in the way of the hot water line and the gas line, all of which are in the same basic area of the house and occasionally bump into each other. because of the furnace, though, i may need to bring the cold water supply through a totally different part of the house if i want the plumbing to be nicely supported and not in conflict with each other.
  • doctor said i don't have pneumonia which wasn't a surprise. latest theory is that the antibiotics worked, but my lungs were inflamed so i had residual coughing. gave me an inhaler to use which is supposed to help my lungs recover. funny because a girl at work said she had the same thing and they gave her an inhaler and antibiotics at the same time. i got the antibiotics and was told to call if i still had the cough in a week. not giving me the inhaler in this instance cost me a visit to the hospital for the xray and another visit to the doctor. we'll see how much the xray costs. when i asked the lady at the hospital she said she couldn't tell me how much the xray would cost because each insurance company has a different contract with the hospital. she said "you would know that information better than i would." really? what a fucking absurd system. obama's bill is just going to be a band-aid for a cancer that needs to be completely cut out of our society. what a waste of time. there are like 4 good things that are going to come out of it and the rest is basically trash if you ask me because it just works with the current system which is utterly flawed in fundamental ways. any "fix" that doesn't put the entire insurance industry in the toilet is probably not going to benefit the people as much as is possible.
  • i feel like a grumpy old man whenever i start thinking about bureaucrazy, er, bureaucracy. i know it's a part of modern life and i actually haven't had to deal with it as much as most people, but red tape and going from one department to another and being transferred from one phone line to another is just about the most annoying thing in life for me. if you want to start a business you have to deal with so many different forms and hurdles and talk to so many different departments that that alone is the biggest reason that i may not ever start a business. it's definitely the biggest reason i don't want to do any construction work with a permit. i've heard countless horror stories from people around here dealing with the building department. one hand says this and the other hand says something else. the building department says one thing and pg&e says another or the zoning department says yet another. it's the same thing when dealing with the uc campus. you get a project going and one guy says everything is fine and then another department comes in and says you should have gone through them and they'll charge you for doing the work even though they didn't administer any contractors. can't stand that kind of stuff. some people are really good at navigating those kinds of mazes, but i'd just rather stay poor or not work on the house or drop out of society all together. that's one area where the private sector is often better than government. with the private sector you just call the corporate headquarters and you know that that's who is in charge. with the government you have so many overlapping powers that you may get one department to be on your side or to approve something, but then you may have to deal with one, two, or three others and they can tell you something completely different. plus, they're the law so you can't really do anything about it. with the private sector you can usually choose someone else or tell them to fuck off, but that's not so true with the government.
  • lakers/jazz game was really good last night. jazz lost and will probably lose the series in five games as a result, but it was a good game anyway. most sports can be simplified to one basic element and in basketball it's that the team that makes shots wins the game almost all the time. the jazz had two shots in the last 5 seconds to win the game and they missed both. when the lakers had two shots in the last 5 seconds of game six against OKC kobe missed the first one and pau made the second one. they won the game and the series. all four of those shots were basically of equal degree of difficulty, but pau made his putback and matthews missed his. that's the game.
  • the nba is another fascist organization in the mold of apple. the latest evidence is the $25k fine given to danny ainge for throwing a towel in the air, yes literally. for "an unauthorized distraction and for conduct detrimental to the game." this reminds me of the last bulletpoint on my job description which is "other tasks as assigned." what a joke. what are the previous 20 bulletpoints for when the last one says i have to do whatever you say? the job description should just be "do what we say for $23/hr." it's at least honest. $25k for throwing a towel in the air just seems so entirely out of wack with what's happening in the world. there were two consecutive years of my life (2005 + 2006, i believe) where i made a fourth of that money (less than 6k per year) and he's being fined that much for a towel toss. it's outlandish and i have trouble understanding how it's even legal for the nba to fine that much. i very much suspect that the league has a line item in their budget for income due to fines. stu jackson, like everyone else in the organization, probably has some kind of quota to meet each year in terms of revenue from fines. sure, it's probably not much in the grand scheme of the league, but he's probably got to raise a few million each year by taking it away from the labor force and calling it discipline for "conduct detrimental to the game." this is probably part of the reason why they instituted a more strict dress code as well.
  • have i mentioned that lamar odom is probably the biggest waste of talent in the four major american sports? he is. also, if i were a coach for all the teams that phil jackson got to coach i'd probably have at least 3 championships. so, yeah, jackson is a better coach than i am, but he's also coached three of the best players in the last 20 years all while in their prime.

  • 5-6-10 (22:22)

  • updated pictures should be up in the next 24 hours. looks like i waited a long time before updating them. jeesh, didn't realize so much time had lapsed.
  • google looks different all of a sudden.
  • went to hospital today to get a chest x-ray because i still have a bit of a cough. guess they were trying to rule out pneumonia. x-ray tech said it looked clean to him. goto doctor tomorrow. we'll see.
  • hospital probably could have been less efficient if they tried, but it was about as inefficient and each person was about as unhelpful as you could expect when you assume that they're actually trying to be the opposite. there's an institutional failure there.
  • met our backyard neighbor the other day. she wants to pitch in to build the fence. nice. quite the opposite of our neighbor to the north.
  • got a shed the other day and assembled it. still need to build a base for it though. hope that'll just take an hour and can do it after work tomorrow.
  • getting heat installed this week. came yesterday to start. i'm doing the electrical and cutting the holes to help keep the cost a little lower. probably saved a few hundred bucks for just a few hours of work that way. still have to run one circuit for a service light and outlet, but got the main power to the switch tonight and cut all the holes for the floor registers yesterday.
  • sarah came by yesterday and i changed her oil. she helped construct the shed. we've been hanging out more lately which is nice.
  • it would be great to get all the loose ends wrapped up this weekend so we can get started on the next project which is the bathroom. that's a big project, the biggest of the remaining projects. hoping it'll be done in august. it would be great to have a week every month where i could just work on one project for seven days straight and get a lot of momentum going and make a lot of progress in a relatively short period of time. that's not going to happen. maybe i'll get walking pneumonia and the doctor will order me to not goto work for a couple weeks and i'll get state disability money and then i can work on the bathroom during that time. that would actually be the ideal situation. ideal of all the likely scenarios, that is.
  • i'm liberal in a lot of ways, but i don't see any reason to extend benefits to the unemployed beyond 99 weeks, or whatever the recent vote was. there are probably a few isolated incidents which warrant such an extension in which case people should be allowed to file an appeal, but the vast majority of people are likely turning down jobs that aren't ideal or aren't looking as hard as they could if they knew they weren't going to get a check next month. this is corroborated by interviews on npr as well as my own experience in talking with people i know who are on unemployment.
  • stock market took a shit today. funny stuff when you actually think about it. read a story wherein one guy said "we didn't know what stocks were worth today, and that's a problem." no fucking shit. what morons. when it comes to financial analysis probably my two most trusted sources are warren buffett and mark cuban. here's what cuban said today. it ties into my questions about the stock market that i've asked before: what is the purpose? why do we buy and sell stocks? are we giving money to companies we believe in so that they can get better and we can be a part of it, or are we just gambling? 90% of the time when i buy a stock it's because it's a company i believe in and their stock is, in my opinion, undervalued. ford is a great recent example. bought them at $4.40 and they went up to about 13 the other day. thought about selling, but i'm in for the long haul because i like them. chipotle is another example. bought at 80, they're at 135 now, thought about selling, but haven't. those two companies account for about 50% of my stock. i own a ford and i goto chipotle every week. cuban points out that traders now aren't people, they're formulas. just read it, he's not a billionaire by accident.

  • 5-3-10 (20:51)

  • garage is basically done. we painted the doors, finished putting away all the tools and all the lumber (except for some stuff on a sawhorses outside) is in the garage. we have an enormous amount of wood because i really don't like just throwing it away. i'd rather keep it and see if i can use it somewhere down the line.
  • also made a run to the dump so the backyard area isn't as ugly. still need to get rid of a bunch of dirt and mow the lawns.
  • got a shed the other day as well and started building that. that'll house the lawnmower and other garden supplies.
  • serge ibaka lost it for the thunder the other day. didn't box out pau gasol so gasol got the easy put back. nice series that would have been won by the lakers in game seven anyway, but i would have liked to see the lakers sweat it out another game. thunder played well overall. durant's scoring was a problem. they'll be back next year.
  • luck the fakers.
  • heard rush limbaugh talking about the oil spill today. hadn't heard any right wingers take it up yet so that was interesting. he mostly talked about the slow response of the administration. i assume he's incorrect and that the epa and obama administration didn't sit on their hands for 10 days, but i haven't followed the story that closely. mostly it was interesting because he didn't talk about offshore drilling, rather he just blamed the administration for being slow to react and he mentioned bush's slow response to katrina so that was surprising. these guys are so funny the way they're hypocritical. i don't know how they reconcile all that stuff in their heads.
  • weather seems to finally be settling into the sunny/clear time which is nice.
  • need to work harder at updating the page and watching movies.
  • still a bit sick. went to the doctor and they gave me some antibiotics. can't say they've helped all that much. i basically feel normal all day, but i have a cough and it's worse at night. she said that my lungs sounded full of fluid when i went in on thursday. she also asked if i had ever had pneumonia which i took as a bad sign, but maybe she was just checking. she referred me to an ear doctor so hopefully i can figure out why my ears crack whenever i swallow hard. definitely feel like i'm getting older.
  • will start running again when this cough is gone.
  • would like to be a really good gardener. have a good understanding of crop rotation, planting schedules, how to clone plants, what stuff works well in what conditions, etc. why is it easier to take a class on how the economy supposedly works than it is to take a class on how to grow fruits and vegetables? for a long time i've felt like the study of economics is kind of a crock of shit.
  • i thought that having a house would be good for my social life - i'd have more people over for bbqs and have them over to help out with the house and whatnot. that hasn't really happened. most of my friends live at least an hour away and most people i know don't really enjoy working for 10 hours on this kind of stuff, especially when it's not their house, which is understandable. bottom line is that i'm not really all that social. in looking back i think that the choice to not do drugs or alcohol was a form of social suicide whether i knew it or not. you don't get invited to a lot of stuff when people know you don't drink, especially when they think (wrongly) that you may be judging them more harshly.
  • for the most part my life has been a middle of the road one. there haven't been a lot of highs or lows outside of the early years when all sorts of things outside of my control went on. it's likely that when i die my eulogy will be a fairly basic one. unlike thieves and rapists i'll probably have a few people show up and one of them will be willing to say a few words, but unlike great people i won't have a bunch of people there and no one will go on and on about all the great things i did in my life. to date it's been fairly prosaic and selfish, to be honest. i've done some nice things for myself like going on cool trips and i've tried not to do harm. i've been an adequate friend and son. that's pretty much the way most people live their life yet this description is somehow a sad sounding one. i'll have to figure out why that is.
  • my dad's an interesting guy. from what i can gather he was basically a little shit head for the first part of his life and he did plenty of unsavory things along the way and now he seems to have figured things out and is living a good life and trying to teach people not to make the same mistakes he made. i can't tell whether it's better to live that life or mine. inflicting some great pain, but some great pleasure or inflicting neither great pain nor great pleasure.
  • i think it's sad that people are only honest about how they feel about you after you die. people give all these great eulogies and you have to wonder if they ever told those people what they felt while they were alive. assholes. i guess we're all assholes like that. we can't be honest with people. i think i'm more honest than most. guess it's a start.
  • i gotta do that brain fitness gym thing that we got for donating to npr. hopefully it'll improve my memory. just gotta remember to do it each day.
  • i gotta make a list of movies to revisit. memento should go on the list. i watch more movies than average, but feel like i can never watch all the movies i'd like to. people always recommend movies and then there are movies that i'd like to see and then there are movies i'd like to revisit and then there are movies that fill the gap. whenever my dad recommends a movie i've never seen he'll joke "congratulations, you've got something to live for."
  • after the shed is assembled we'll likely move onto the laundry room. also have to do the bathroom and the art room addition. may be getting heat installed soon.

  • will try to upload new pictures in the next day or two.