11-28-09 (23:12)
  • usc didn't look great today, but they got a win. it was notable, though, because of the ending. usc was up by 14 with the ball and about a minute to go. they went into the victory formation and kneeled the ball. rick neuheisel called a timeout (ucla had all three remaining) in an apparent signal that he didn't feel the game was over. the coach inside my head was confused - was he trying to coach the game to the bitter end? was he trying to teach his players a lesson? it just doesn't make much sense at that point to extend the game, but it's his prerogative. so, i thought what i'd do and the obvious answer was to try to get a first down because two consecutive runs up the gut (the traditional approach to kill the clock) would likely end in a punt and giving ucla the ball back with about 40 seconds left. sure, they wouldn't really have a chance of winning the game, but you'd rather just go for the first down and end the game right then and there. sure enough, pete carrol went for a play action and it ended up in a touchdown. then the idiot announcers compared this to the maneuver that harbaugh used against usc. it amazes me that otherwise intelligent people, when put in media positions are unable to decipher the differences in situations. rather, they go for the most sensational interpretation - in this case that pete is a hypocrite and that the two cases were the same. in this case the leading team was going to end the game with a kneel down, but the losing team's coach wanted to continue to the bitter end. the winning team took a shot down field and it ended in a touchdown. in the harbaugh case the winning team tried to further humiliate the losing team by going for a completely unnecessary 2 point conversion after the game was clearly already decided. if you can't tell the difference then stop watching football.
  • bought new computer. this one is consistently slow and crashes more frequently these days. it's about 7 years old, though, so it's done well for me. new one arrives this week.

  • 11-26-09 (11:24)

  • finally uploaded some more pictures. this time they have captions at the bottom (or in the middle if you hover over the thumbnail) which provide context.
  • going to aunt's for thanksgiving.
  • art room ceiling is almost done. meryl's job is to work on the walls.
  • next project will be getting the kitchen pantry up and running which would be useful.
  • also hope to get the fence built next weekend, but have yet to talk with the neighbor about that so we'll see how that goes.
  • have five days off in a row, that's nice.

  • 11-18-09 (08:42)

  • stucco guys are here and should start working shortly. might actually finish today which would be good since it would mean we'd be weathertight quicker and wouldn't have to worry about them not showing up later. luckily diana was able to translate for me, couldn't have made it work without her.
  • going to try to get little stuff done around the house today. hopefully watch a movie as well. if i'm going to make it to 300 this year i'm going to have to kick it into high gear for the next 6 weeks. we'll see how that goes.

  • 11-16-09 (18:24)

  • officially done with the wiring in the art room. will wire ceiling fan when ceiling repair is done. finally got a light in the bedroom so that's exciting. also, there was one outlet in the bedroom that was left unwired, though the outlet was there, and i hooked that up. in bedrooms code requires a stupid afci breaker which is more expensive, takes up a full slot in the panel, and trips with certain tools (especially older ones). it's supposed to prevent fires, but i think it's obnoxious. anyway, all that stuff needs to be on an afci. the outlets are now and the lights will be later when i replace the circuit that currently feeds the water heater. at this point i've wired all but two lights in and around the house. i've also wired about half the outlets and a few of the ones i didn't wire are newly wired so i won't touch them anyway. wiring is more fun than any of the other trades i've encountered. i think i'd also like working with concrete as a mason, but that's got a lot of heavy lifting and probably doesn't pay as much. next i need to learn more about wiring the house for cable and cat5.
  • supposed to rain tomorrow which sucks. need to get the damn stucco guys in, but haven't been able to get a straight answer from them. will have my friend talk to them tomorrow, she's from mexico so hopefully she can sort it all out.
  • would like to get a lot of little things done this weekend just because there have been a lot of little loose ends that have been bugging me. hopefully get a coat of compound on the artroom ceiling and then go under the house to strap some of the plumbing a little more securely.

  • 11-14-09 (18:27)

  • sarah came over today to help with the house. she got a new car so i drove that around the block. nicer ride than i've ever had, though the camry was smoother and historically more reliable, sarah's is more fun, though not as fun as the corrado which is easily the most fun car i've ever had. i never did take it on a turn that it couldn't handle.
  • got the other window in a built the jamb for the crawlspace door that i have to build and install. will do that after the stucco goes in. hopefully the stucco guy will come tomorrow. he only speaks spanish so getting anything out of him has been very difficult. i told him to come last week and he didn't and then i told him to come tomorrow so we'll see how that goes.
  • usc got creamed again. the dynasty is over, i've said that already. stanford is the only team to win in the coliseum since pete came to town, i believe that's what the stat of the day was. impressive streak i guess. stanford beat the two toughest teams in the conference so you gotta give them credit. didn't see the game so can't comment too much on it, but the reality remains that this team has lost so much talent on defense, so much coaching talent in the last several years, and still hasn't really found their stride offensively so this isn't much of a surprise. my dad was expecting a blowout in the other direction, but i predicted a stanford win. the surprise isn't that they lost, but that they lost by so much. maybe next year. meanwhile florida is probably going to roll to another championship in spite of their problems. when you play cupcake teams all year it's no surprise that you go undefeated. if usc played their schedule they would have probably lost to alabama and lsu. if florida played usc's schedule they would have lost at least one game (probably to oregon).
  • sarah also got a new ipod so i hooked her up with a bunch of music and got itunes configured for her.

  • 11-10-09 (23:42)

  • frankly, i find non-reality and art more moving than actual life. case in point: the graduate, magnolia, the beatles, etc.
  • i've heard one.be.lo's "s.o.n.o.g.r.a.m." over 100 times and it's just as good every time. notice new things all the time. amazing depth to the lyrics.
  • s curve and bay bridge renovation in general is causing all sorts of problems. haven't heard about any lawsuits yet, but those guys better get some good lawyers. it's ridiculous.

  • 11-10-09 (17:29)

  • curiousity gets a bad rap. they say that curiousity killed the cat and all that crap, but i think it's one of the best attributes a person can have. lack of it is much more dangerous than having a lot of it.
  • every year politicians from both sides propose tax cuts and every year they trot out these anecdotal examples of joe the plumber who earns such and such and has a wife and two kids and this is what his taxes are now and under my plan they'll be this. the truth is that no one cares about joe the plumber (neither the real one or the theorhetical one) - people only care about themselves. problem is that no one knows how the new tax code will affect them if they vote for candidate a, b, or c. what i propose is having a simple questionaire online that asks you basic things like your income, # of dependents, what deductions you'll take, etc. and the program will say: under the status quo your taxes are this, under my plan they would be this, under the other guy's plan they'd be this. part of the problem with the plan is that it's trying to simplify a system that is the exact opposite of simple so there would inevitably be discrepancies between the plan as quoted on the site and the actual taxes you would pay. that's not to mention the fact that no president is going to get the exact tax code that they propose as a candidate because every tom, dick and harry has to attach their bogus riders to the package.

  • 11-08-09 (17:24)

  • last two weekends we've been contending with the corner of the house and its rot problem. we got one window in today, but the other one has a good deal of rot on the left side which we just uncovered today.
  • so the work proposal was submitted last thursday and was accepted on friday. my boss initially asked her boss for a $5/hr raise for me in addition to the 4 day a week workweek and the benefits package. her boss came back with a $2/hr raise with no option for a raise next year. i came back with a $3/hr raise and he accepted. so, i'm pretty happy with that. i'm generally not one to negotiate, but i figured that's how things are done so i may as well throw it out there and see what happens. all that is pretty good news. i haven't had benefits for 4+ years so it'll be nice to be able to visit a dentist and a doctor to get a cleaning or get my allergies tested. the extra money won't hurt either and i still have the freedom of 3 days a week to do whatever i need to do for myself or the house (mostly the house).
  • niners lost another close game. it's becoming a habit at this point as this is the third time in a row that it's happened. four straight losses, with the first one being a blow out against atlanta.

  • 11-03-09 (17:49)

  • ran out of gas on my way back from la. first time i've ever run out of gas. fortunately i had already exited the highway and i didn't bother stopping at the stop sign at the off ramp. after i went through the stop sign the engine cut off and i just coasted into a nice spot at the pump. lost my power steering and power brake assist, but other than that it wasn't an inconvenience at all.
  • budget crunch at work. jokingly told my boss that they should just pay me half of what they were going to give to the reservations replacement and tack it onto my salary. i'd do both for 100% of my salary and 50% of the other person's salary, plus get benefits and that would save like 17k a year (the replacement is slated to make about 35k/year + benefits). she actually seemed to like the idea so she might pitch that to the powers that be. only other stipulation that i threw out there was that i would only want to work 4 days a week. it would be a pretty ideal situation - give up one day off a week for more money and benefits. i'd still have 3 days a week to work on the house and run errands and the like. we'll see how that pans out.

  • 11-01-09 (22:56)

  • well the worst time of the year began this weekend and this weekend lived up to that title. it's the worst time of the year because of the time shift which means it'll be dark at 5pm and that's just about as depressing as anything. saturday was awful because when we started working on the art room window we opening up a bucket of worms that will end up monopolizing the next few weekends. we really should have just reinstalled the window, made everything weathertight and gone onto the electrical. instead we broke out all the stucco and revealed all the rotten studs in the corner of the house. killed both our days of work just getting all of that demoed and barely started rebuilding it. working 5 days a week is really hurting my ability to get any kind of real work done on the house and i don't actually feel any richer than i did a month ago. then again we had a big donation to npr, i had a trip to la, i had a broken car window and a few other one time expenses that kind of sucked all my extra money away.
  • the other reason that saturday sucked is the epic loss the usc endured. that was a streak ender. all our streaks are now over and done with. we had all sorts of streaks under carrol. years in a row going to the rose bowl, years in a row winning the pac-10 title, games in a row winning at home, years in a row being within one score of tying/winning every game, etc. saturday ended all that. perhaps this will refocus the staff and players. this is more of what i envisioned when i thought about this year at the end of last year. losing like 8 defensive guys and the starting qb and both the coordinators....i figured 2-3 losses and a rough year overall. the ohio state game gave me false hope. oh well. the worst thing about the loss was that i really didn't feel like the guys were into the game. losing is one thing, but i sensed a lack of effort, like they just weren't up for the game. as a fan you can use a couple excuses like losing the pac-10 sack leader in the first half, or not having 2 receivers, our starting tight end, our starting fullback, one of our starting linemen, and of course stafon johnson. but that only explains the offense's lack of production, not the defensive breakdown. that's more troubling. our offense seems to be figuring things out with barkley and the new coordinator. williams is awesome. mccoy is great and he was missed in this game. but our defense in the last three games has been really bad.
  • then today the nightmare in the back corner of the house continued and the niners lost yet another close game. those close ones are rough because we're clearly a much better team than we were two years ago, but we're just not able to get over the hump. a couple of those close ones were winable and two of them were against unbeaten teams which really would have put us on the map. playoffs looked so good a few weeks ago, not so sure anymore.
  • meryl's mom, stepdad and stepbrother came over for dinner today. we played rockband and beatles rockband afterwards. we beat beatles rockband. pretty fun to play when you know all the songs so well and they're all so good. that was the highlight of this shitty weekend. back to the grind tomorrow.
  • starting on my way back up from la i put my entire ipod on random so the plan is to go through as many songs as i can and rate each one on a 1-5 star scale. the ipod stores that info and then you can sort your collection based upon your ratings. my ipod is the biggest they made (it's now discontinued), but it still doesn't fit all my stuff. 30k songs in all. john gave me a hard drive of a friend's collection - it's over 100k songs so i'll be picking some from there while i'm going through my own stuff.
  • with an 80+ year old house it's just a fact that there's going to be a lot of rot. you need to learn where to draw the battle lines. if i were living in this house for the rest of my life i'd go through the trouble of taking down all the stucco and re-structuring the places that are rotten. i'd replace the structure with pt lumber and my strategy would be different. i'm not going to live here the rest of my life though so we need to learn when to call it quits and move on to the next thing. we also need to be more disciplined about sticking to the project at hand. starting the art room when the laundry and kitchen are still not quite complete was a bad idea. we need to tie up lose ends. that'll be the goal in the next few months: finish art room, laundry, front door, kitchen. then we can move onto things like the side fence, the garage, etc.

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