Monday, December 31, 2007

In the new year.

This morning, I thought I was just going to make an entry wishing all my readers a wonderful New Year. I do sincerely hope the New Year brings you the things that most make you happy. Family, friends.. not wanting to beat people in the stores. You know.. that kind of thing.

I figured I'd reveal that even though I'm not one who makes resolutions - maybe this year there was something I hoped I could accomplish. I'm not sure if its really a resolution... but it would be nice nonetheless.

It is to be less suspicious of people. And maybe a little more trusting.

You see this morning Mr S. and I had decided to start the New Year off by taking a couple of days off from the crap shack and sleeping in. The sleep quiets some of the daemons. I wasn't feeling sarcastic at all this morning.

Over the Christmas break - we'd been watching a lot of those flip shows. We wanted to make sure we weren't doing the same thing people on those shows were doing. Hello travertine. All of a sudden I'd started feeling pressure to get more stuff done at the house.

Which was kind of weird, because our plan had never been to turn the house in super short time frame. We didn't want the process to be super stressful. We'd factored in a ton of time and were already way ahead of schedule anyway.

We hadn't accounted for getting more workers than we needed. If we just wanted to do a quick job we could get the house back on the market in a month. But we didn't want to do that. So, it was nice having a few days to regroup and sleep in.

But then my zen was broken, because I realised I would have to go to the store since everything would be closed tomorrow.

Everyone here knows the store is something that is guaranteed to make me surly.

I thought there wasn't anything that made me hate doing that chore more than I already do - but apparently there is. Cell phones. Don't get me wrong, I love my cell phone - but I still try to be courteous when using it in public. I still walk out of the store when people call me so I can have a conversation. If I do use it in stores I have very brief conversations.

Most people do not however. And if you are on the side people are holding their phones - you are basically in their blind spot. Magnify this by a zillion people.

You can't get passed them. You can't get your stuff. Just annoying. I should know better to go the store the day before a holiday. Or ever.

At any rate.. I still hope everyone has a wonderful New year. Anyone want to share anything they hope they can accomplish for the New Year?

Friday, December 28, 2007

Maybe they are special.

I woke up this morning feeling rough. Yesterday we'd only gotten a room and a half primed, so I was a little surprised at how much my body was hating me this morning. Normally that little of activity wouldn't be making me feel this way.

Mr S. and I went to breakfast, and I debated my sanity in not hiring someone to paint the inside of the crap shack. If I was feeling this way after only a room and half, this was going to suck. I had 80% of the house left to go. I started wondering if painters were special after all. Especially after making a snarky comment they weren't.

We got to the house this morning, and Mr S. went to get coffee. Somewhere in that time - I completely found my groove. By the time he got back I was done with two rooms. He could barely keep up taping off rooms in front of me.

In the end, today we got 80% of the house primed. I think I might have been able to bust the whole thing out if my girlfriend/neighbor hadn't stopped by.

So, for now... the painters can be replaced.

Maybe with robots.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

What's bothering me today.

I actually didn't think I was going to post today. We've been over at the crap shack painting. You can't imagine how much I love the smell of paint. Just add a paint gun, and things are fabulous! Paint contractors think they are so special. But they just aren't. Especially if you don't have to protect anything.

Anyway.. I have two things that were bothering me today. Both of them because my paint gun hose had a leak, and I had to go to Home Depot. Which was still better than paying a contractor to paint.

This is the first thing:

Who's fucking idea was it to make those plastic bags you get at the store so thin? For months I've been getting slightly more annoyed at buying something. Walking out to my car to have the bag virtually explode. Even when I have things which have no corners to rip them.

Say for instance a perfectly round can will cause one of those bags to tear in three places. Count it! Three! It makes me want to use 20 of them - which is super annoying, because I know the reason they are making them that way - is so they will break down in landfills.

But honestly... I actually have to use three of them to do what one bag used to. And it isn't just the shopping bags. Its vegi bags too. How a cucumber can cause a vegi bag to wind up completely shredded is beyond me.

The is thing number two:

The hoodie phase. Yep.. that's it.

I really don't like not being able to see someones face. I especially don't like a car full of young boys all decked out with their hoodies on. Especially if they are driving.

And before you go there.. it isn't a race thing. Its a young male thing. If you are a young male, chances are your going to eventually do some dumb-ass thing. And when you do, I'd like to identify you.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Reflections on the holiday.

It was pretty weird not doing the capitalistic Christmas this year. Mostly. We did buy stuff for family and such. Just not ourselves.

I do love the Christmas thing. Even though my belief system doesn't go with what the holiday is about. Sometimes you don't even realize how much you miss it until you abstain for a year.

We just figured we had enough crap for now, and it kind of felt nice to make the holiday better for other peoples families. Of course, I'm talking about our contractors. Often times - even when they finish jobs, they don't always get paid - and a few were really hurting this year.

One thing we did over Christmas - was have Tivo record a bunch of those shows about flipping houses. Other than Flipping Out, we didn't really watch any of that stuff. Buying the worst house on the block and renovating them has always been what we've done. Even before the term "flipping" became popular. The only difference is we aren't living in this house.

So, it was interesting to see why the term has gotten such a bad name. Some of those people are complete hacks. They take stupid shortcuts that would cost so little more to do the job right.

At any rate, even though we treat our contractors really well, I have a whole new respect for them. Our guys are really, really good. That isn't to say they don't make me crazy from time to time. But, they aren't hacks. Which is why they've been with us a long time. Which brings me to another interesting thing that happened this holiday.

Yesterday evening our roofer started trying to get a hold of us. I was kind of done with the whole day, and didn't answer the calls.

Over time - he and I had gotten in this weird place. I didn't think we were quite friends, but not quite clients either. A few minutes later we hear a knock at the door, and he'd left a gift basket with a card. Which was really nice. But, what was more surprising the card had an invitation to get together with him and his wife for dinner.

So, now I don't know exactly what we are. If you are just doing the holiday thing. You just wish people a happy holiday and move on, right? I didn't even know his wife's name to be honest.

I know it sounds really lame to wonder, but as you get older - relationships are much more complicated. The line between friends and not friends is much more vague, and it takes longer to form true bonds.

Monday, December 24, 2007

Its all about the arch.

I should have been getting my bake on today.. but instead we were dealing with contractors.

Yes... on Christmas eve.

I'm pretty sure they aren't even heathen atheists like we are. But, they chose when they wanted to work, and as long as they aren't pissing off the crapshack neighbors - I'm happy to let them.

The day started out simply enough. Do a drive by at the crapshack. See if anything unexpected cropped up, and see if they guys needed anything. Go to the bank. Come back and start cooking. Simple.. right?

Yeah.

The guys were putting up the gates today, and when we got to the house they had one side hung. And it was terribly wrong.

I had my heart set on a gate with an arch, and the side they had up - was an arch. But it was such an exaggerated arch that the side that attached to the post was only as high as my hip. The side that attached to the other gate was taller than I am. That's a couple of feet from one side to the other.

At this point we start trying to figure out if we can salvage the gates without making it look like a hack job. And it didn't look like that was going to happen.

Mr S. says he can make a template, because he understands what I'm looking for. He sets off to the house. I set off to the bank and Home depot, because we need more hardware to support the extra weight of the gates.

I think it actually took about two hours and 5 people to work out a simple arch.

Apparently arches are much more complicated than you would ever expect. It seems like such a simple thing.. but it turns out not. But the gates are up, and I'm actually a little wore out. Hopefully I can gain a second wind, because I didn't really expect to have a big contractor issue today.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Goodby Santa.

In other tear out news.

We weren't going to do anything with the crap-shack this week. I can only stand about a week of the contractors, and then I need a break.

Don't get me wrong, the guys I have now have been mostly great. But, it is a lot of babysitting to make sure things continue to go "great". With so many contractors in last week, I was pretty burnt.

But - an interesting phenomenon seems to happen when we move into houses. Since we tend to choose the worst house on the block - when we start fixing the house up, some neighbors will start to fix things up too. We aren't sure why this happens, but it seems to do so with regularity.

Last week we noticed one of the neighbors who shares a fence started to tear down some of his fence, and was in the process of putting up a new one. The only problem was the concrete pour for his post would have made it impossible to repair a segment we shared - without screwing his stuff up. So, we talked him into holding off for a few days, so we could repair the area.

Mr S. and I were going to build the gate initially. But, since we didn't want to hold up the neighbors, we called one of our contractors to get it done more quickly than we could have on our own.

I didn't really expect any of the guys to work this week - but, I guess they needed money for the holidays because they volunteered to work today. They also agreed to tear out the floor in the master bath. The one that was up on jacks. Which was a huge bonus. This is what is looks like now.



This is what it looked like before.



I was a little nervous of what we might find when we got the floor out because of all the water damage, but other than the shower area resting right on the copper pipes (unsupported) the beams were in remarkable shape. I'm super shocked that one of the core structure has any mold or rot or anything.

Friday, December 21, 2007

I think I'm in a CES funk.

Well... it doesn't look like we are going to CES this year - without having to fight hard for the tickets. And, I'm sort of bummed.

I never thought I would ever be "not in a completely bummed state". But it has been an exhausting couple of months.

I would try harder for the tickets if it weren't for that. But, I still sort of want to go. Because - it's CES and it brings out the inner tard in me.

Products so maxed out, you couldn't possibly need them - but you do anyway.

At least I'll be avoiding the CES plague, and will feel slightly pleased every time I read a reviewer telling about how sick they are. Because I won't be.

I still want to pout though.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Dear Amazon.

This is my recipe box.



You would make me the happiest woman on earth - if I could put these on the Kindle. I don't want you to sell me recipe books. I'm a magazine page puller.

I just want to be able to scan these in, and be able to index them. In essence, make my own recipe book (for a price of course).

Sincerely,
Your New Kindle Customer.

Monday, December 17, 2007

I don't know why I'd want to - but I'm gonna.

Some of you may remember Mr S. talked me into buying a slingbox a while back. (Here)

It was mostly a brilliant effort to placate me.

He was trying to minimize the pain of staying at bitchopalloza. I thought the whole thing was a little frivolous. But, he wore me down by saying that when we upgraded our cell phones, we'd be able to use the slingbox on them. I gave in.

We have new cell phones. Now you must look!



Survivor on my cellphone!

There is no earthly reason why I need to watch TV on my phone, but you honestly have to marvel at how fucking good it looks. And the frame rate is actually really damn good. And then..look at this!



All you diehards will know what this is. So I'm not even going to 'splane it.

If you need a guess, let me know.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

For the love of Christmas!

"Multi-bird roasts, where different types of bird are stuffed inside a larger one, have become the thing to carve this year - and the more birds involved the better. One of the top-sellers is the Waitrose four-bird roast: guinea fowl, duck and turkey breast stuffed inside a goose. "

I don't know if this has a catchy name like turducken.... so, I'm creating my own.

Tuk-duck-goose. Enjoy!

They just suck all the fun out of it.

Mr S. and I aren't doing anything much this Christmas.

Rest is the present we are giving ourselves. Sweet - delicious - rest. And I couldn't be happier. Let me tell you why.

The one thing we did decide to do - was update our cell phones. And it couldn't have been more of a pain in the ass. It actually reminded me a lot of being in the doctors office. You give them your name. You sit down in the waiting room.. I mean waiting area. The cell phone company puts on a glove, and puts his hand up your wallet. Well.. something like that.

It mostly annoyed me that it took a solid hour. Even though we knew exactly which phone we wanted, a Verizon XV6800 - this one:



We didn't have any questions, and basically only had one person on the waiting list in front of us. We were pretty excited about buying the phones, but they managed to suck all the joy out of it. And, by the time we left I was in a surly mood.

But, I really needed a new phone. When using mine, it was getting to be a daily occurrence that I wanted to throw it into a wall. Or firmly jam my heel right into the center of it. There were so many things I hated about my phone. The way the buttons were all placed in inconvenient places, and got pushed all the time. No matter how careful you were.

Getting the camera to come up took an extraordinarily long time. And despite turning the phone off, you could still activate all the features of the phone. Particularly annoying was random redialing of people in your phone book. So annoying in fact, I refused to enter any of the numbers of my friends into my contact area. I was afraid I'd be out, and even thought I'd turned the phone off - just holding the phone in my hand the wrong way would cause it to randomly call someone in my phone book.

Even worse, the phone would have some devil lock on the line. So the person the phone had called, just couldn't hang up on their side and get their phone line back.

I can't tell you how many times my husbands phone called me from his pocket, and I'd be reduced to screaming into the phone in the hopes he could hear me so he would hang up. I wouldn't be able to use the line until his phone terminated the connection. Just.. so annoying.

Anyway. The new phones are a great improvement over the old model. They are faster, and actually have better reception. But - its only day 2, and I'm probably high on the factory air.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Crapshack today.

I don't know.. Crapshack Today sounds like it could be a magazine. Doesn't it?

Anyway...I am glad the week is coming to a close. None of my contractors have made me crazy. Yet. But, I'm just tired of them. Despite how charming it was to walk into the house this morning to all of them singing "How deep is your love?" by the Bee Gees.

My last set of guys are in the house finishing up texturing the walls - so I thought I'd post some pictures.

For some insane reason, the people that owned this home put a new roof everywhere - except the back bedroom. That area to the left of the picture. I'd make arrows... but I'm tired. Just point to the left of your screen.



This resulted in water damaging most of the drywall in that area. Plus, I don't know if you can see it, but it had 70's mirror tiles on the wall.

This is a picture of the room before we took possession. Some may remember the bank removed all their stuff. Thankfully.



This is with part of the drywall ripped down.



They did it so fast, I didn't get any pictures of the ceiling being completely gone. So you will just have to use your imagination.

Somehow we managed to get really lucky, and not have any mold in the framing of the house. When water gets in, mold is always a concern.

This is what it looks like now.



It will look much better after the texture dries, and it gets painted.

This is what the new roof looks like from the back.



New roof from the front.



Before picture of the front here.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Natural disaster for hire.

I hope to post some pictures tomorrow of the crap shack. Things are moving so fast I can barely keep up.

So fast, in fact, one of my new neighbors called the fucking building inspector on me.

I get to the house today and my roofer informs me the inspector was just here.

I figured it was just one of the inspections for the roof. As I recall there are 2. So I didn't think much about it until he told me I got called in. Which totally pisses me off. Just wait until you see some pictures of the place! Those people should be fucking leaving me presents. Not calling me in.

At any rate.. since I don't cut corners, it wasn't a big deal other then making me want to stink eye every one of the neighbors.

The funny thing is when I asked my roofer who he thought did it, he pointed to two houses. One of them is house where my friend lives. My roofer doesn't know she lives there.

I'm sure the neighbors are annoyed about the noise, but that is a very temporary thing. My guys gutted my house in two days flat. I've never seen anything like it. When my roofer went to unload his dump trailer it weighed 12 thousand pounds. The dump-master said he'd never come in weighing that much. 12 thousand pounds people!

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

How to waste a weekend - Ending

I'm going to try to wrap up this story.(Read part 2 here) I'm pretty much over the whole thing for now, and I have a ton of new updates on the crapshack.

So anyway... with the heat out - Mr S. and I left a message for an HVAC tech we had given work to at our old house. Then spent a pretty sleepless night on the living room floor. We had a full room heater going, the oven - and we were waking up every couple of hours to put logs on the fire. Which pretty much sucked.

We also decided that auditioning for Man vs. Wild was pretty much out of any future fantasies. I know I'd pushed my Bear Grylls skills to the limit.

Next morning, Mr S and I were still trying to figure out what to do. Because we didn't know if our tech even worked on weekends. We were just hoping that since we'd worked with him before he might take pitty on us. He called around 9:30. He said he'd be out in an hour and a half at the latest. He was out three hours later.

He finally got the heat on around 3:00, because he didn't have the part we needed on his truck.

We then had to immediately start getting the fireplace cooled down. We were suppose to be at a party at 5:00. But since we had been burning wood for 15 hours it took quite a bit of effort to get it to a stage I felt comfortable leaving the house. I think we were two hours late.

At any rate.. there is almost nothing I love more than heat, and I'm happy that whole thing is over.

Todays image.



Well. There's your problem, right there.

Monday, December 10, 2007

How to waste a weekend Part 2.

So, I just have to tell you HVAC tech's are about the only segment of humans on earth that I just fucking hate. I despise those bastards. 95% of them. And, that is being generous.

There are no market forces to make those in the profession more than thieves. That's right. I said it.

First - a person probably sees someone to fix their heat once or twice in their lifetime. So, there isn't much repeat business. That means there is no incentive to not take you for as much money as possible. After all, they are never going to see your cold dumb ass again.

Second - Most people are not going to work on heaters themselves. They have like 10 fucking parts - but holy shit all those wires scare people.

Some shit about them not wanting to get electrocuted. Whatever. I am batshit nervous about electricity, and even I don't think it's that dangerous if you exercise a little care. But, since most people are nervous about that crap - it is almost impossible to find information about fixing the 20 year old furnace you have. The best information you can find is "pilot light not lighting - you need to call a professional".

Thank you professor obvious!

Third - they always have you in a vulnerable position. The heat never goes out when you can live a day or two without it. It always goes out in the evening. On the coldest day of the year. It won't ever go out in the morning on the coldest day of the year. Then you could actually pay regular overtime, instead of super quadruple overtime.

Fourth - their main incentive is to sell you a new unit. Some are more hard sell than others. But some are pretty much like "well, I guess you are going to freeze to death if you don't buy a new unit". Or "if you don't buy a new unit, I'm going to make you wish you had" by charging you so much. And oh BTW.. we at least know enough to figure out how much all the parts in all those units cost. We know how much they are marking stuff up.

So anyway - enough ranting... back to 8PM on Saturday when my heat went out. I'm not happy about it, but I'm starting to get cold - and we decide to just call someone out. Despite 90% of the HVAC tech's in the phone book advertising for "emergency service" none of them provided it. And! not only emergency service, but 24x7 support. Not one of those fuckers even had the option of having a tech paged after hours. As a matter of a fact, all of them listed normal working hours on their answering machine messages. Every - single- one, in the phone book.

So apparently in my city, if your heat goes down after 5:00, you are fucking screwed. And we were.

More later.
Part 1 here.

How to waste a weekend.

The universe has a way of evening things out. Since everything was going smoothly at the crapshack. Something bad had to happen at my place. Which it did.

On Saturday our furnace decided it wanted to act up. It doesn't matter that it was suppose to get down to 32 degrees that night. Oh wait it does. Fucking universe.

Anyway. Mr S. and I spent a couple hours working on it. We actually managed to get the thing working by cleaning up the pilot ignitor sensor to get rid of corrosion. Three hours later though, at 8pm, it spewed it last cough and completely stopped working. Did I mention it was suppose to be the coldest day of the year? Oh yeah - I did.

We went over our options. One of which was bugging out to a hotel. But - with the bunnies, the pain in the ass factor was high. So we decided to close all the rooms down, and hope we could keep warm enough by sleeping in front of the fireplace in the living room. We don't have a huge place, but with the freezing temps and it being pretty windy - a house gets frigid quickly. I also found myself at Target at 10:30pm buying an electric space heater.

I just have to go off on a mini tangent here.

So, I'm in the middle of a melt down. Target was filled with workers in the isles stocking, and doing whatever. I had a question about the heaters, because a few of them were called "Oil Filled Radiator Heaters".

Space heaters are really dangerous - and I didn't want anything that needed to be run on oil inside the house. My question was simply " do you have to put oil in these things"? It doesn't seem like too lame of a question. Does it?

The worker looked at me like I was from mars - and asked "you want price check"? It was then I realised he barely spoke two words of English. Which normally doesn't fucking bother me. But it so totally did this time.

It is one thing if you want to speak your own language. I don't care. But you should at least be able to speak enough English to help customers. Irritated the shit out of me.

Anyway.. I'm going to have to break this up into parts. Stay tuned.

Saturday, December 08, 2007

New - from the crap shack.

Things are going pretty smoothly at the crap shack. I'm still using guys I've used before - and they are treating me well. I'm happy to give them work. Especially at this time of year.

They are making the place look so much better. I can barely stand it.

This is the side of the house - before.



That area was basically a trash heap. Plus it was unusable space. Pretty obvious from the beginning. But after it rained recently - it made me so happy I chose to put some concrete there. It was a muddy mess.

It also led to the garage, and I figured most people would hate walking out of their garage to such a fucked up area of their yard.

This is what it looks like now.



Also an unexpected bonus?

After nuking most of the back yard... I found the fences shared by neighbors on two sides, were practically band spanking new! You couldn't even see the fence to the neighbors behind before. And once my guys got all this crap off the side, only then could you see what good shape they were in. It makes me super happy.

You can't imagine how big of a deal that is. Trying to get neighbors to fix fences - sucks big time. Even when you have a really good relationship with them.

Friday, December 07, 2007

What?!

I have a really bad habit of ending conversations by exclaiming "what"?

Which, recently has started driving Mr S. batshitty. He won't say it that way. But I know its true, because he has started mimicking me.

Example:

Me - I went to the store and this person was driving me crazy, and I just wanted to beat them. What?

Mr S. - What?

So, last night Mr S. and I had to have a discussion. Because admittedly, his mimicking me was driving me crazy. Yeah.. I hear you guys! What?

It went a little something like this:

Me- Babe.. why is this all of a sudden bothering you so much.

Mr S. - because you do it all the time.

Me - I know I do.. but a lot of people have ticks. Some people say "like" a lot. I say "what".

Mr S. - Well I don't know what to say to you. It sounds like you are constantly challenging me.

Me - I'm not challenging you. I'm prompting you. Like - "what do you think"?

Mr S. - Well, you don't say it that way. You say it in a "what the fuck are you looking at way".

Me - Babe,I don't mean it that way.

(I hold up my right hand making it look like a sock puppet. So I can have a pretend example of our conversations)

Look, this is what happens.

Sock puppet hand is saying "wha, wha, wha, wha, wha". Then looks to my left hand which is laid flat. Left hand makes the sound of chirping crickets.

Me - So I have to say "what". Because I don't know what you are thinking.

This of course made him crack up.

At any rate.. I'm going to try to be a little less annoying.

Thursday, December 06, 2007

If it were up to me - I'd fire a bunch of people.

Oh wait - hopefully they are getting laid off.

This is the thing about my crap shack. I went about buying it totally honestly. I didn't fudge income. I didn't get creative with financing.

So - it kind of irritates me when the lenders are basically fraudulent without needing to be.

I liked to amuse myself by thinking that more people than not - knew what they were getting into when it came to the whole sub-prime thing. As more time passes after buying my crap shack, the less confident I become that is actually true.

Take this for example. Today I get the appraisal of the house. Which we paid for, but had no influence over. Imagine my surprise when I find the following on my report:

"RECENT IMPROVEMENTS: THE SUBJECT APPEARS TO HAVE A NEWER COMP SHINGLE ROOF. VINYL DUAL PANE WINDOWS. NEWER GARAGE DOOR WITH OPENER. THE KITCHEN APPEARS TO BE RECENTLY UPDATED WITH NEW COUNTERS, CABINETS, FLOORING, AND FIXTURES. THE MASTER BATH IS 80% COMPLETE WITH WHAT APPEARS TO BE NEW CABINETS, VANITY, NEW CULTURED MARBLE WAINSCOTING AND SHOWER AND NEW TILE FLOORING."

You will see more of the house later.... but are they fucking high? This is the master bath they talk about in the last sentence. The one they say is 80% done, and bla bla bla.





First- you see it has plywood on the ceiling right? The bathroom is a complete tear out. The fucktards who owned the house were using the shower as it stands. Causing water to degrade the sub floor. That bathroom is up on jacks (litterally). There is a jack in the crawlspace under the floor holding it up.

Secondly - cultured marble - what the fuck? And, you can't see it in this picture, but they were actually using a football to put over the toilet drain. The toilet was missing.

Just pisses me off someone would actually write an appraisal like that. Oh - just wait till next week, when I show you how other parts of the appraisal were so totally ridiculous.

Todays customer service rant.

Maybe I'm being a little bitchy. But, when I call customer service - and the first thing they say to me is "how can I exceed your expectations today"? I immediately become annoyed.

It doesn't make me happy. It doesn't make me feel more confident. It makes me feel like " Who are they kidding"?

I'm positively giddy if they just meet my expectations. Simple stuff - like answering my fucking question.

I've pretty much given up on them meeting my expectations if something needs fixed. That requires 3 or 4 calls of playing the customer service lottery. Hoping to hit the magic rep. who has worked for the company more than two days, and actually has some knowledge of the company and and how to fix my problem.

This "how can I exceed your expectations" greeting - is bullshit. Train your workers better. That would exceed my expectations.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Who loves robots?

I do! Especially when they have boobs and a tiara. Watch the clip courtesy of Reuters.



The other thing I find great about this clip - is how fast robotics are progressing.

Last year, when I was at Robogames, and I got picture after picture of the fighting robots falling over. They were pretty top heavy - and their handlers basically were treating them like a toddler taking their first step.

See this guy holding out his hands the way you do when a baby is starting to walk?

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Not - Global Warming?

I don't know about you - but I'm a weather junky.

In California this year, it's been sort of like the super bowl for people like me. Drought, Santa Anna winds. It's been pretty extreme.

So you know when hurricane force winds hit Washington this week - it got my attention.

Earlier in the month when the Santa Ana winds hit Southern California Mr S. and I were having a discussion about them. He was pretty amazed at the wind speeds, and said he'd never heard anything like it in California before.

Oddly, sometimes I run across interesting tidbits - and had recalled an event in 1962 called the Columbus Day storm. I told him what I'd read about it. Which basically is - the remnants of Typhoon Freda went extra tropical and had hit somewhere up north. It had pretty much destroyed a town because the winds were so severe. A very rare event. I then promptly went on with life.

At the time it was just an interesting tidbit, and it seemed like one of those once in a lifetime events. As a matter of a fact - it was such a remote memory, it took me the better part of an hour to plug in the right keywords to find the story again.

If I do say so myself - it's pretty interesting. The two storms have a lot of similarities.

This is from Typhoon Freda. Compliments of www.islandnet.com. You can also read about the story there.



This is the satellite loop from the Storm this week compliments of www.blog.oregonlive.com. Who also has some fantastic photos of the event.



It will be interesting to see what they say about the 2007 storm after they get done analysing it.

Welcome to the Big Top.



My house has termites. I'm not thrilled about it. But - what do you expect when some douche bag piles up wood and garbage against a house for centuries. You can see it here in the before pictures.

Perhaps I shouldn't speak ill of the dead. Never mind. The guy was a douche bag. But - whatever. I knew about them when I bought the house. So, they are more of a mild irritant.

In general - I hate the idea of termites. Even though they haven't destroyed anything yet.

I've spoken to a lot of people about them, and they don't seem to be freaked out about a house with termites. In California, it seems they are at plague status. Since we don't get cold freezing temps, there is nothing to keep them in check.

Then, there are douche bags who do everything to make sure the species proliferates.

Here is my mini rant for today: Houses like my new crap shack really make me sad. I bet when these people moved into this house they were full of hopes and dreams. As those dreams slowly died, so did the house.

You see - when I was a kid, we moved all the time. Sometimes several times a year. Most of the time we would get kicked out, because my family was poor. So - houses hold a special meaning to me. It is such a huge deal to own a house that you can do anything the fuck you want with it. Including, I guess - let the house return to the earth. It still makes me sad when that happens though.

Sunday, December 02, 2007

Santa claws.



Clearly - she is not amused.

Huh - who would have guessed?

For some reason I'm feeling unseasonably festive. Today we got our Christmas lights up. We even had to shop to replace a string of lights that didn't work anymore - and I didn't want to push anyone down and beat them.

We went to like five stores. And despite rumors of a horrible economy, places were pretty packed. But, I digress.

Oh - and LED lights this year are apparently the hottest thing to have. That's what we wanted to get, but the color we wanted was sold out. The checker told us they had been selling out of them for days. Finally.... some LED acceptance.

I've also been feeling uncharacteristically unstressed and un-neurotic. Which is amazing considering the month I've had. Perhaps its because we've already done the family thing. Mr S. and I have decided to do the low rent Christmas. He wants an e-book reader. I just want a fancy toe ring.

It was kind of the perfect time to buy a house, because there just aren't any "must have" toys this year. No video game consoles. We're all computered up. Robot level adequate.

Its kind of a nice level of zen right now. It won't last... but you have to take it as it comes.

Saturday, December 01, 2007

After.

You must see the before pictures.



Oh yeah..That shed was there in the before pictures. You just couldn't see it until you were right on it, because there was so much overgrowth.




See.. that palm tree did make my house look small.



The nice thing is - you can see it has a yard. But now the house looks super craptacular.
 
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