11/29/11 (17:43)
  • work has been busy lately because the new boss has moved a bunch of crap in and out of his office which has caused a chain of events that makes a lot more work for me. job security i guess.
  • tomorrow i hope to finish off the electrical rough-in and get some vegetables, etc. planted in the planter in the backyard. had been meaning to tackle that for sometime, but hadn't gotten around to it. looks like we'll get it done tomorrow finally so that'll be nice to check off the list. our front yard plans will be on hold until next summer when maybe we'll tackle it. this stuff never ends. keeps me out of trouble i guess.
  • along with having the best olive oil i've ever tried while in ohio, we also had what i consider the best bottled salsa i've ever had. cajohns makes hot sauce primarily, but they also make salsa. we tried the raspberry salsa and took some home. unique. the sweetness can overwhelm, but it's really good in small doses.
  • our maytag refrigerator is about a year and a half old and it leaks when it goes through a defrost cycle. it drips the water into a little plastic pan which has evidently developed a couple cracks. apparently these pans used to be made of aluminum (which neither cracks nor rusts), but i guess that cost an extra $.42 or whatever so maytag opted to change the design. fuckers. this is classic capitalist american bullshit. we weren't always like this. we used to make quality stuff. my grandma still has a vacuum cleaner that's like a million years old and works fine. the shit they make these days all comes from the same shit hole factory in china or india or whatever colony we're exploiting at the moment, while some myopic college grad eeks out every last penny by engineering the latest shit product. we ship the jobs and money overseas for the privilege of buying a frig at a 15% discount to us, a 25% increase in profit for them, and the chance to do it all over again when it takes a dump after a paltry 10 year lifespan. it's a beautiful fucking system.
  • according to a story i read, the cutoff for the top 1% is earning 506k/year. i'm part of the lower 47% according to their calculator. during my worst two income years (2005, 2006) i was part of the bottom 3%.
  • our middle class erodes more and more every day. the discount retailers survive as does tiffany's, but the places in the middle and the people they used to cater to are suffering. this isn't news if you've paid attention, but it's worse now than it was 15 years ago when i first became aware of it, and this juvenile band of hippies is the best hope we seem to be able to muster. ok, they're not all juvenile or hippies, but what's the point of just camping out on public property all day and all night? it'd be a better pr move if they went home for the night and returned each morning, thus making it a legal protest instead of burning man 2.0. i dunno, just a thought.
  • i can't help but feel that this country is done for.

  • 11/28/11 (17:36)

  • the long weekend was a nice reprieve.
  • lots of football which was nice. usc killed ucla. they didn't pour it on at all in the 4th quarter so it was about as classy as a 50-0 win can get. a couple reasons why i think it was a big win in a meaningless season for the trojans: winning big at the end against their rival further elevated their profile after the oregon victory, it elevated barkley again to the point where he is finally getting some heisman consideration. go ahead and compare his numbers to luck's - barkley's are better in yards, touchdowns and interceptions. luck is better by two points in completion percentage. luck is a better general on the field and doesn't have the same level of receiver. barkley doesn't have as good an offensive line and doesn't have the best tight ends in the country (according to standford's own supporters). strength of schedule is nearly identical so there's no argument there. one loss separates the two teams. the heisman is a popularity contest. anyway, back to the win over ucla. it also sets the bar for oregon to win the dubious distinction of being the best pac-12 team. if oregon doesn't win by 50 points or more then they're once again upstaged by usc. it's going to be great for recruiting. i'm not in love with kiffin, but one thing he does well is get attention and a lot of football players like that. usc will be back in the hunt next year, the spotlight will be shining again because they can go to a bowl, they'll possibly have a heisman candidate among them once again, and they'll have something to hang their hat on after a couple poor seasons.
  • the nfl was shown on thursday how to beat the niners. lots of stunts and blitzing confused the offensive line and brought alex smith out of his comfort zone. should be interesting to see, at this late stage, how the niners will fare. they have a lot of work to do to get their coverages under control or else other teams are going to exploit the weakness and we'll be out in the first round of the playoffs.
  • the lsu arkansas game wasn't much. not at all excited about the lsu/alabama rematch. it's a down year for college football in my opinion. lsu is clearly the best in the country from what i've seen and they have a suspect offense.
  • cain is accused of another affair. pretty clear that he's a goner anyway at this point. after perry's debate when he forgot the third branch of govt. that he wanted to elminate i turned to meryl and said that gingrich was going to get a bump and he did indeed. perry and cain go down and gingrich goes up. the republicans aren't thrilled with any of them. paul has his 10-15% of crazies who will support him no matter what. gingrich has respect from the old guard. romney is the guy that they'll embrace if they have to. cain was in there because he was funny and black. perry was in there because they like the idea of perry, but even they know he's a fucking idiot.
  • worked a lot on the electrical this weekend. got the outlets and lighting wires run to the big living room as well as to a few other outlets. there are literally only 4-5 more outlets that i'll have to run wire to and then we'll have rewired the entire house. actually the previous owners wired the bedroom, but everything else has been done by us.
  • we also worked on paint prep and meryl did some painting. there's a lot of prep to be done in the big room and, in order to get the texture right, i think we may have to retexture the whole room.
  • we also put down a sealer coat on the pavers so that project is 100% complete, no more add-ons. cleaned it on friday and applied the sealer on sunday. i think it looks good, though i wish we had done it sooner. there are a couple spots that pool, but i think that's from two things: not vibrating it all down soon enough after laying them and the monsoon that came through and washed away stuff that we had already done. there's a line where the pre-monsoon area meets the post-monsoon area and it's obvious to me, but i don't think most people would notice it. for it being our first paver project and for it being almost 1000 square feet with multiple elevations to hit (landing by side deck, sidewalk, back lawn, front lawn, garage) and a curved driveway, and all the rest... i think we did a good job.

  • 11/22/11 (19:43)

  • saul perlmutter won the nobel prize for physics recently. he teaches at uc berkeley and organized a surprised party for his wife at the alumni house several months ago. i had the "pleasure" of helping him with this. the guy is obviously a genius, but not when it comes to party planning. he was fairly high maintenance, but honestly it didn't bother me much, i've had to deal with worse. i was just very matter of fact with him, especially once i found out he was from the lawrence berkeley national lab which houses all sorts of eccentric geniuses who lack genius elsewhere as a result. they're like brilliant musicians who can't pay the bills because they're always drunk, but without the charm or whatever. genius is a funny thing.
  • finished my dad's movies list. he has been keeping a list of all the movies he's seen in the theater since 1993 and here it is. it was originally in a calender book so i transcribed it over the course of the last seveal months. yes, 410 movies in 2010 all in the theater is correct. don't ask.
  • in case you haven't been paying attention some shit has been hitting the fan at uc schools lately. ucb had the excessive force incident a couple weeks ago. and more recently uc davis had the pepper spray incident.
  • katehi didn't authorize the use of pepper spray so i don't think she should have to step down. could she have prevented this? yes. i think having her there, but walking on eggshells is actually a better outcome than having her exiled for something that wasn't a result of her action, though it was a result of her inaction.
  • to me this falls on the shoulders primarily of the cop involved. he should be fired. next level up should be whatever ranking cop was on duty who may have authorized the action, he/she should be gone. next level up is the ucd police chief, she should be gone.
  • the thing that makes this really bad is that not only was it completely uncalled for, but it had just happened an hour away at ucb. after that incident one would think that the chief would huddle her team and go over the protocol should something similar arise on her campus. it's gross negligence or stupidity or not acting in a professional manner or all of the above. either way, she has to go. really disappointing stuff overall.
  • the trip to columbus was fun. in case i haven't spelled it out already, the idea is that each year meryl and i will go to one "rivalry game" in college football. they can be big or small and the order will be more on interest and availability. so, last year we saw sac state at uc davis. this year we saw penn state at ohio state. some others we have planned are: harvard at yale, usc at notre dame, alabama/auburn, texas/oklahoma, lafeyette/lehigh (oldest [in terms of games played] in college football), osu at michigan, etc. at any rate, this year we wanted to see joe paterno coach so we picked osu/penn state. of course things didn't work out so well and joe pa was MIA. but the trip went on anyway and we had a good time.
  • flew out early on friday and saw columbus (ohio's largest which surprises most people when i tell them). we had been through the city before on the baseball trip, but neither of us remembered it much i think because we went on the outskirts more than anything else. so we saw the city including german village, the capitol building, the downtown area, the main campus drag (high street), a topiary version of seurat's "a sunday afternoon...," (pic below) and then went to eat at eddie george's grille. george was an osu running back, heisman winner, and later played for the titans. the weather was decent. it got down to about 40, but that was the worst of it. after that we went to the hotel and ate bread with the best olive oil i've ever had. imported from spain we picked it up at a deli (katzinger's) in the german village. very buttery with not too much bite. great stuff.
  • saturday was the game so we got up early and worked out. ate at tim horton's which is popular in the great lakes area. he was a hockey player who founded a pretty decent franchise that offers breakfast-centered foods. most of the day we hung out on campus. we saw most of the campus (which is quite beautiful and precisely what i think of when i envision a college campus) and went to the art gallery on campus which had some good work from alexis rockman. then we ate at the student union which was about average for student union food. then it was game time. they take football pretty seriously at osu which is what i expected. they're also pretty nice from what i could tell. ohio in general is filled with nice people. when i lived there i got that impression as well, but it was even more marked when coming straight from oakland. it's not that people in california are particularly rude, but people in ohio seem to make a conscious effort to be kind and respectful. the seats weren't great because the view was obscured, but we're working on getting something back on that. some people wear hats that say 1942 (first year that they won a national title). tbdbitl is a popular acronym it stands for the best damn band in the land and i have to agree. they're very precise and the script ohio is the coolest thing i think i've seen from a marching band. from a pure visual stand point i've yet to see anything better. musically i'm not able to judge. extra action does some good stuff, usc's band is real good and there are some bands in the south that are well regarded. but when it comes to theatrics and my view of what a marching band should be, osu is the best i've seen so far.
  • it was senior day and i thought it was cool that they mentioned all the seniors in the band as well as the seniors on the football team. i can't recall seeing that or hearing of it elsewhere.
  • they did cards like cal and others, but this time around they did the numbers of the seniors on the football team during the game.
  • they also raised the biggest damn flag i've ever seen. the army rotc people raised it in an entertaining, indescribable fashion. should have gotten video of that.
  • when the band first comes on the entire crowd claps quickly to welcome them onto the field. after the game the band stays behind and plays for a while which i enjoyed.
  • watching a game at osu felt more like i was going to church than to a football game. usc fans get into the tailgating and they love the team. cal fans don't do the tailgating as much, but they love their team just as much or more. but going to osu there was something different in the air. they really seemed to love and cherish the experience. the way they sang the ohio fight song, the way they clapped along, they way they sang the national anthem, it all felt more like church than anything else.
  • after the game we went out for dinner again at a local place on high street and then went to the hotel and watched the usc/oregon game. jesus what a week for football. ok state loses (i've been predicting they would blow it since week 4). usc beats oregon because chip kelly decided to play for overtime and because for 3 quarters they couldn't stop the usc offense which might be the best in the pac-12 at this point. oregon needs a quality qb. usc's defense seems to have finally gotten a couple things ironed out, but they still have a way to go. usc is back in the top ten which amazes me, but it's also kind of a weird year so i'm not too psyched. more than anything (other than it being a great game to watch) that game was big for recruiting. it means oregon may lose a couple recruits that they were trying to poach from california schools so that's a good thing. then oklahoma blows it to baylor (i thought they would win and then beat ok state next week to ruin things for them, but this way is even better). then stanford almost loses to cal. stanford is officially overrated after barely beating usc, losing big at home to oregon and almost losing at home to cal which is in the middle of the pack. down year for the pac-12 in my opinion despite what herbstreit says.
  • sunday we decided, on a whim, to visit my old home at cuyahoga national park, as well as kent state university, and the house from a christmas story which is in cleveland. kent is a depressing little college town. they have a memorial on campus because of the four students who were killed by the national guard. it was a timely visit because of what has been going on at the uc schools and occupy protests in general. depressing that things really haven't changed much.
  • after kent went to cuyahoga n.p., which is where i worked in 2006-07. it was good to revisit the place and it brought back more memories than visiting ohio had already. ohio is a great place. it may be the most american state in the union. i've been to 49 of them and ohio and pennsylvania strike me as the two that embody what america is more than any others. that's not always a good thing, but it is what it is. i happen to love ohio. i wish it well. the people are the salt of the earth. maybe not the most evolved or enlightened in some ways, some of their politics are regrettable, but they're good people and that's basically how i feel about america on the whole.
  • the final stop before the airport was the a christmas story house. talk about a microcosm of america...ohio is one, but the a christmas story house was a step even further in that direction. so we find the house and park on some guy's lawn because he's waving a bright orange flag and directing us there. after i had already started to turn i notice a little sign that says $5 for parking. i figure i'll just bite the bullet. the guy seems like he's seen better days and we're on vacation so what the hell. turns out that the lawn is his and i guess he does this for a living, or at least to supplement it. so this guy get's a couple hundred bucks a day during the good days in cash. i'm guessing he doesn't report it to the irs. he's out their hustling up money because he sees an opportunity and, hey, all the more power to him. his neighbor is an older, heavier smoking lady who is doing the same thing, but with far less energy and is making less money as a result. the american dream in action i guess.
  • then there's the house itself. the whole attraction is actually three houses. one is a museum, the other is a gift shop and the third is the actual house. you pay $10 a pop to get into the house which includes a little 10 minute speech from a nice young lady who may or may not be on speed. she's knowledgeable and energetic, a fine little bit of info is included on the house and the film. turns out that the house wasn't an attraction until about 2005 when a guy from california paid $150k for it (even though houses in the area were going for more like $30k). probably bought it with a shady loan, given the year of purchase, but hey that's the american dream or whatever. i guess he was all depressed with life and his parents made him a leg lamp like the one in the movie. so he decides to make them himself and sell them on ebay. makes a good living that way and then buys the house to take things to the next level. fixes the place up with another $250k and now i guess he's living off the proceeds of the tours and souvenir sales.
  • i'm as big a fan of the film as the next guy, but some of the people who went on this tour were crazy. they get under the sink (like randy does in the film when he's scared) and pose for pictures. they pose in front of the xmas tree, they use the decoder ring while sitting on the toilet, etc. it's priceless americana. i'm just sitting back watching as these people live out their fantasy and inhabit the roles of the people in the film. everyone experiences this stuff differently i guess. what a trip. we snap a couple photos, go outside to see stuff there and then goto the museum.
  • the museum is mostly snapshots of the crew on set as well as some original costumes. but the real attraction was that the actor who played randy (the little brother) was there. he looks like a normal guy and from what i heard from him talking to people, he's very normal. but there he is getting paid $10 a pop for signatures and a photo. there's a whole subculture of has-beens who still make a living off their appearances in cult films/tv shows. you see it at wonder-con and the like all the time. again, classic americana. speaking of which the house received some award from fox8 and they misspelled "museum" as "musem." freaking classic.
  • of course we also got some crap from the souvenir shop. i'm generally against the collecting of plastic shit, but meryl is intent on collecting xmas ornaments from the places we visit. doesn't seem like a completely useless enterprise so i gave in and we got something from osu and the a christmas story house. all in all the visit to the house was itself worth the trip out to ohio. amazing what you can get in three days when you don't stop moving.
  • speaking of which, i'm hoping to get a lot of stuff done around the house during the thanksgiving break. maybe finish the electrical in the big room, maybe start on the cabinet for meryl's parents, maybe some work outside if the weather holds up.

  • misspelled "museum":

    our seats weren't quite as bad as some of these:

    topiary version of a sunday afternoon:

    fucking priceless:

    11/14/11 (17:48)

  • finished up with a little retaining wall project in the front of the house. took a weekend plus the time sean and i spent trenching it out while meryl was laying the pavers on the driveway. we'll plant stuff there next year. hope to cover it in the meantime so nothing grows there.
  • this and the bathroom might be our two best before and after pictures:


  • 11/12/11 (09:49)

  • we finished the patio the other day. good to finally get that over and done with. all that's left is to drill one hole for the gate latch to lock into the patio, but that shouldn't be a problem.
  • we've been concurrently working on the living room (the big room) and that's going to take a lot of work. the electrical alone is going to be a pain. then there's a ton of paint prep and the painting itself is going to be arduous.
  • speaking of painting, meryl helped me paint the big boss' office yesterday and we knocked it out in a 12 hour day. we decided to spray and backroll rather than roll it all. if it had been a nice day outside, instead of rainy, i think it would have been smoother because the paint would have dried better between coats. other than that it went pretty well and i'm glad to be done with it.
  • joe pa is out. pretty sad stuff, but from what i've heard he knew, when he knew it, and what he did/didn't do, it was probably the right decision. there's nothing pure in this world. the psu/osu game that we're going to next week in ohio will take on a much different meaning now.
  • rick perry's self-destruction is far more fun to watch than the usual celeb self-destruction which generally involves drugs and problems with the law. i think it says something about the republicans that that guy is taken seriously. he's raised the second most dollars of the contenders and was #1 in the polls for a while. kucinich is a bit strange and i'm sure there are other dems who are loopy, but i can't recall one of them being taken as seriously as perry is being taken now.

  • 11/10/11 (17:50)

  • worst time of the year with the time shift crap. hate that it gets dark so early. blah.

  • 11/8/11 (17:00)

  • hopefully going to finally finish off the patio tomorrow. no rain or wild winds in the forecast so that's good.
  • nice little story on steve jobs the tyrant and "delicate genius," to quote costanza. what a prick that guy was. the story pretty much confirms what i had suspected of jobs for years: namely that he was just a picky guy who did an elegant job of stealing ideas from others and making things pretty or slightly more functional. we need fewer guys like that in the world. people who are self-righteous and entitled. people who feel the world revolves around them. people whose delicate genius can't be interrupted. people who feel entitled because they're good at something. i love how intellectuals will throw terrell owens and other entitled athletes under the bus for being prima donnas while sticking up for steve jobs the genius innovator at the same time. pathetic. the article also discusses jobs' views on bill gates. among other things it implies that jobs looked disdainfully at gates' work in philanthropy and remarked that he's unimaginative which is why "hes more comfortable now in philanthropy than technology." what a dick.
  • for some reason when i watched donnie brasco for the first time it occurred to me that great people often are forced to make the choice between their friends/family and society. donnie brasco basically ruined his home life for his undercover work bringing down the mob. society is better off as a result, but those around him, those closest to him, suffered as a result. i've always felt that you owe it to those close to you to be good to them first. i guess when you're doing something like bringing down the mob a case can be made that you're doing the right thing by screwing your family over with your absence or constant anger and drug issues. but when you're just making prettier and more user friendly phones, maybe you should "think different" about the way you're living your life. asshole.
  • gotta paint the new big boss' office friday and saturday. he's going with an all white motif, including getting rid of the desk that executive directors have used since the alumni house opened in the mid-50s. style is evidently of great importance to this guy so i'm not sure how much i'm going to like him.
  • i take it back, alabama's defense isn't as good as usc's defense was a few years ago.
  • this penn state scandal and cries for paterno's head is moving way too fast. the media does this shit all the time. they get all worked up over herman cain or joe paterno or anthony weiner and they want blood and they keep drumming away at something until they get it. after 46 years of running a clean program you'd think that paterno would have earned the benefit of the doubt. he's not the one accused of the crime, an ex-coach was. he went to the higher up and reported what he knew. beyond that, there's not much that's known so calls for his head are premature. go join a posse and round up frankenstein if you're so eager to sacrifice someone. jeesh.
  • now, as for cain, the guy is done. whenever 4 individuals make similar claims about the same thing, chances are there's some truth to it so he's going to go bye bye. what's funny about it is the republican outrage. they cry about the msm, the hypocrisy of the left (because of clinton), etc. the difference between clinton and cain is that monica wanted it and these other women didn't. both instances are morally wrong, but if the allegations are true then cain's situation is worse. whatever, they're all assholes. throw them in a ditch and light a match as far as i'm concerned (yeah, that's right, i just dehumanized politicians). it would be great if people of strong moral character would be capable of being elected. yeah right.
  • as i get older i find that i'm increasingly non-partisan. if someone is honest and reasonable i care less and less how they think it's best to solve the issues. i'm just tired of the games. i believer that if you put reasonable and informed people into a room, they'll get stuff done. problem with that is that they all say they don't play the washington games. it's extremely popular to run on an anti-washington, "i'm going to clean house" platform and they never do/can.

  • 11/6/11 (18:49)

  • well, lsu won the "game of the century," in what can only be described as "a game in this century." 9-6 and their defenses were good, but their offenses were poor. stanford, usc, and oregon have much better offenses, unfortunately none of them have championship caliber defenses this year.
  • didn't get much done this weekend. because of the threat of rain we worked inside instead of on the pavers. got some electrical done (no more knob and tube wiring in the house!) and some paint prep done as well. there are lots of defects in the plaster and repairing that takes a long time.
  • meryl ran a 5k today and did really well. our goal was to get under 22 minutes and she did it. she got first place, though the 5k competition was slim. she ran a really good time of 21:10 which is the real victory, and i know she can do even better as she becomes more acquainted with the distance.
  • after we got home we watched the niner game and napped. then i worked on the electrical some more. then we made a nice asian beef dinner and homemade ice cream.

  • 11/5/11 (8:58)

  • been thwarted by weather or the threat of weather the last two days we've tried to finish off the paver project. an epic wind blew small leaves into the cracks between the pavers one day and was blowing half the day which would have made sweeping sand into the gaps basically a nightmare. today we're delaying because of the threat of rain. if we weren't using polymeric sand then we'd just get it done, but the polymeric stuff sticks to everything once it gets wet and we don't want it sticking to the top of the pavers.
  • so our efforts have moved inside. patching and repairing plaster in the big room has been the primary goal. today hopefully we'll get some wiring and more paint prep done.
  • also have the lsu/alabama game today. big game of course and presumably the rights to the national championship are on the line. i think lsu is slightly better, but i haven't seen too much of either team. alabama's defense is about as good as usc's was a few years ago, not sure about their offense. it's in alabama so presumably they get the edge as it's a toss up for me.

  • been watching more movies lately which is good.