installed the cabinet on
sunday. worked out pretty well. we had to do a fair amount of electrical
which took longer than anything else. it was the first true bookcase i've
done and the first built-in so i'm pretty happy with it. a couple things
i would have done differently if i could redo it, but overall i'm satisfied
with how it turned out. to the lay person it looks pretty professional.
the oil/water hybrid from kelly-moore was a good paint to work with. the
waterborne alkyds are getting more popular and i think they're the wave
of the future for trim and built-ins. oddly, though, kelly-moore only had
1 gallon in stock.
going to work for meryl's
property management company tomorrow. she's still working on a place in
sf for her brother and she needs a handyman. we'll see how that goes. plumbing.
not psyched about my welding
class tonight. i've learned some things, but it hasn't been great so far.
i just want to get to the welding. it's a bit of overkill to take a 3+
month course just to learn arc welding, but that's what they offer and
i'll learn a lot of other things as well so that's always good.
pretty pessimistic these
days about the state of our culture, economy, country and political system.
things are going to get worse before they get better. we haven't done anything
substantive to address any of our core issues.
started priming the cabinets
for meryl's dad/stepmom today. going pretty well. we don't have the topcoat
yet, they're providing it. after we get that i'll spray a coat of that
and then install the whole thing into its nook. after that it's touch-ups
and we'll be done with the first built-in.
after installing that it'll
be time to get back to work on the patio/paver project.
i think huntsman may be
the most reasonable of the republican candidates. going on the offensive
has gotten him some press lately.
i'm not a fan of ron paul,
but the guy is consistent and doesn't seem to be a hypocrite and i have
much respect for that in a political environment that taints pretty much
everything it touches. so, he finished a close second in the iowa straw
poll, which doesn't reallly mean shit, but people are exalting bachmann
like it does so...anyway, paul finishes second and there's nothing but
crickets and tumbleweeds on this guy. wtf? pArry gets press, bachmann,
pawlenty for quitting, and romney...but not paul. it stinks of a media
blackout. there's not much i hate more than politicians, but the media
sometimes gives them a run for their money. almost.
watched the enron documentary
again last night. extremely aggravating.
i'm not sure what it is
with our society, but for some reason when you talk about morality and
ethics it seems like people tend to associate that more with conservatives
than liberals. liberals are stereotypically seen as lenient with regards
to things like sex and drugs. "if it doesn't hurt others, then it's ok."
that kind of thing. i'm a pretty liberal guy, but i've never truly embraced
that ideology. then there's the kind of morality that extends to doing
the right thing in life. being the voice of the voiceless. being the change
you wish to see in the world. these are catchphrases, but i feel like not
a lot of people live them. i have a vision that people used to be that
way more than they are now. i'm not sure if that's true, it's hard to say,
and ultimately it doesn't really matter. what i can say is that people
tend to do the expedient, easy and selfish thing a lot more than i would
like. it's easier to tell a lie than it is to have a conflict. it's in
my best interest to keep quiet or keep my eyes down if something wrong
is going on around me. we can't legislate this stuff, either. it's gotta
come from society and upbringing (parenting). i'm thinking about this stuff
because i watched the enron documentary last night. that company created
a culture that was perfect for exactly what i'm talking about.
i guess what it comes down
to is a couple things: people need to do the right thing and tell others
when they're not doing the right thing. meryl and i were at a burger shop
not long ago and we were standing in line. two little girls (maybe 9 and
12) came up and the younger one cut in front of us in the line. we stood
there, kind of shocked for a minute. the 12 year old went to the back of
the line and at one point the young one gestured to her sister to come
with her in line and the older one mouthed to her "you're cutting." the
younger one ignored her and stayed in line. a few seconds later the older
one went in front of us and joined her sister. it didn't really bother
me all that much, but what ended up sticking in my craw is that i didn't
correct it. the older one knew what her younger sister was doing was wrong.
the younger sister knew it too and yet nothing happened. i could have said
"excuse me, i think you cut in line" and they would have capitulated and
probably been less likely to try it in the future. but i didn't have the
courage to potentially get in an argument with a couple preteens and maybe
their parents (who were at a table in the corner). i'd like to think i'd
have the courage to do something if i were at enron. there's no telling.
first three pages of my
itunes sorted by number of plays. it's not 100% accurate because i don't
know if it counts it when it's played on the ipod and it only counts it
if you've listened to almost the entire song. anyway, it's kinda fun.
what's really fun is having
every song i own rated. it's insanely easy to make good mixes now. i'm
also getting better about adding comments so i can include notes like where
a song was used, what songs it sampled, where it's sampled elsewhere, etc.
i also tagged all the holland-dozier-holland songs which is also useful
since they're fucking amazing.
forgot a couple movies,
so i added them today. need to be better about writing them down as i see
them; i'm short changing myself.
if anyone has a good listing
of all the government social welfare programs i would love to see it. i'd
like to see them listed by name and include the following information:
how much they cost, how many people they help, what the assistance is,
what the criteria are for getting the assistance, and how long the assistance
lasts. right now it seems like we have a patchwork of programs that helps
niches here and there along with the big ones of medicare, ss, and food
i feel like we can't even
have the discussion about this stuff unless we really know what it entails
and what the criteria are. for example we have publicly debated the unemployment
going longer than 99 weeks because the vote was in the congress and the
media sorta covered the issue. but what about all the others. what if it
turns out that you just need to say you have a bad back without any proof
and you can get medicaid benefits for life? conversely, what if it turns
out you need four doctors to sign off on it after you've paid for them
out of pocket and the benefits only cover 50% of your health coverage for
a maximum of 2 years throughout your life? are either of those fair? i
don't think so. instead we just talk in generalizations. "nanny state,"
"the rich don't pay their fair share," "welfare queens," etc.
warren buffet had a good
op-ed on the issue of tax burden today.
thome hit his 600th and
601st home runs today. only 8 have hit that many and at least three of
them did steroids. thome hasn't ever been in that discussion and he hit
them in fewer at bats than anyone else other than babe ruth. ruth will
probably always be the greatest of all-time in my mind. hank aaron stuck
around a long time, but he wasn't as pure a hitter as the others in the
600 club. griffey is the great tragedy because of his health problems.
he could have been a 700 guy if he has been more healthy. bonds is a farce
as are sosa and a-rod.
i've said before, solutions
are plenty. there are enough smart people out there to give lawmakers,
judges, presidents good ideas. we just need people who can make good decisions
with the info they're presented and work well with others. let me put it
this way - i could solve all the biggest problems today by just looking
at the candidates' old report cards. i would ignore all the grades for
history or math or science and look only at the "plays well with others"
column. good grades there? ok, you're in. bad grades there? you're out.
niners first preseason
game tonight. we'll see how that goes.
been listening to the intelligence
squared podcasts. oxford style debating on various topics. it's fun stuff
and they keep it civil.
tiger woods looks to be
done. he should just take a vacation for a year and clear his mind. trying
to slog through this slump probably isn't going to do him any good, although
it gives sportswriters something to do when they're not picking their noses.
took this political compass
it's not perfect, but it's kind of fun.
to me, one of the great
inspirations of the founders was their ability to put their differences
aside and come up with the constitution. it's fundamentally flawed in some
ways - it didn't acknowledge the fundamental human rights of women and
blacks, for example. but i think they knew that eventually those things
would come to pass and that they had to create a document to unite the
states in the meantime. it's a great example of what reasonable people
can accomplish when they must and when they put away their sacred cows
for the greater good.
meryl's working the raiders
working on updating all
the pictures from the past month. now that i have it on my calendar it
should be a regular occurence that pics are uploaded the second week of
each month. hopefully i stick to that.
dow was up today.
lately we've been working
on meryl's dad's built-in cabinet. there are going to be two that we'll
end up building. one in the tv area (a sort of entertainment center) and
the other is off to the side of the tv and will display things and hold
books and whatnot. we're building the book/display case first.
neighborhood cat killed
a good size rat in our backyard today. we see little mice from time to
time, but i don't think i've seen a rat so far (except the dead ones when
we first moved in). cats are useful.
wedding went well. got
a little sunburned, but that doesn't happen often these days so i guess
got a couple cavities filled
today after work. first cavities in a long time, then again i haven't been
to the dentist in a few years either. well, except that one time to fix
my chipped tooth.
tested the sewer lateral
yesterday and it turns out that they didn't tie in the kitchen sink. hilarious
especially considering they weren't going to tie in the shower until i
brought it to their attention. there were two pipes that they dug up and
they just assumed that one of them was abandoned. so, before they tied
into the new lateral, i asked them about the other pipe and the guy said
it was old and wasn't used anymore. i said i thought it was used for the
shower and asked if we could test it. so meryl went in and ran the tub
and sure enough some water cam out of the pipe. so they did some more digging
and figured it out. well, just about the time they were getting ready to
leave i thought about the kitchen sink and where it drained to. i thought
it would be good to check where it went because i wasn't certain that it
went back to the main stack. sure enough, i dug around and found that it
probably met up with the lateral further down the line than they were digging.
this is a downside to a trenchless system, i guess, but certainly one that
could be avoided if they did any kind of testing whatsoever. long story
short, i tested it out and the kitchen drains to the side of the house
(i.e., it dumps into the ground) and they're coming back next week to make
it right. if i was the average homeowner or had not been on site when they
did the work, and we had gotten this company (a reputable area plumbing
company) to do this, we would have a shower and kitchen sink that weren't
draining into the sewer, but rather into the dirt on the side of the house.
the debt ceiling fallout
has been interesting to follow. i think it's a time to buy stock rather
than sell, but that's just me. the stock market is about companies, not
governments. the downgrade has little influence on the ability of the people
to buy new ipods or soda or even cars.
politically i think that
obama is destined to be a one-term president. he's going to be a scapegoat
and a large part of that is his fault. he didn't present a bold vision
on the economy. the stimulus was conservative and not well-planned. he
should have fought for a second round, a bigger first round and smarter
spending all around. people in the media are finally beginning to mention
the words "works progress administration," though i fear they are bringing
that one up too late in the game.
the conservatives have
been masterful at shaping the debate (they usually are). they have shifted
the burden to austerity and a focus on the debt, rather than on growth.
i've known for probably 10-15 years that the economy needs to constantly
grow in order for it to work. i remember first learning about that and
getting depressed, but that's just the way it is. our economy is like a
shark, if it stops then it dies. paying off $15 trillion in debt is impossible.
it would take us running a $500 billion surplus for the next 30 years.
right now our deficits are running about $1.4 trillion. so that means a
$2 trillion swing beginning next year. literally impossible and politically
impossible. after 3 years of running a surplus like that the right wingers
would be up in arms. "why is the government making a profit off the hard
work and taxes of the average american worker?" is how the debate would
go. taxes would be cut, surpluses would drop, and we'd stop paying off
no, the only way to get
out of this, as usual, is to make $15 trillion look like a small number
- inflation and growth of the economy. it's worked before and hopefully
it will work again. but in order for those to happen we need to have some
fundamentals working for us. we have to stop competing with cheap. we should
be competing with japan and germany in terms of quality. we have plenty
of quality products that we produce (my mind always goes to tools like
snap-on and craftsman vs. festool [germany] or makita [japan], but it could
also be planes, cars, computers, etc.), but we need to increase that. we
need to make serious investments in our future through education. we need
to lose the idea that everyone should go to college. it's stupid and pointless
to strive for the highest college graduation rate in the world (as obama
would like to see). we need to fix entitlement programs and lower the cost
of health care. we need to cut defense spending and get out of our wars
abroad. we need to have a viable third party with a permanent seat at the
table during presidential debates. we need to reign in corporate power.
we need to reform the tax code - fewer breaks and write-offs, no loopholes,
get capital gains in line with income tax rates. we need to get serious
about helping people who need help and kicking freeloaders to the curb
to fend for themselves. mandatory drug testing and community service if
you're on welfare. freely available career assistance and job training
and mentorship programs. more power to the states, less to the feds. fix
the housing problems that continue to plague us - get real relief to homeowners
under water. force the banks to settle, we can't have housing in limbo
unfortunately, the more
i look into this stuff, it's painfully obvious that there are a thousand
great ideas out there, but there is very little political will to enact
them. solutions to so much of this stuff are not hard to come by, finding
good people to write good laws is the tough part. the system is broken
fundamentally and it has me wanting to leave more than ever.
got a big wedding this
weekend. ryan's getting hitched. johnny's flying into town (from switzerland)
new sewer lateral goes
in today. a bit worried about there being unforeseen issues. we know the
original clay line is offset at each joint and we know that when we take
showers there is a leak that presents itself on the side of the house.
the cleanout is also kinda backed up. so, i'm hoping that in spite of all
that they can jet it clean, install a new line and we'll be good to go
by the end of the day for the quoted price. they're doing a trenchless
install so that should be fun to check out.
while they're doing
that we're going to do some weeding and continue work on meryl's parents'